Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Bread, Bread, And More Bread

All photo credits here: Kathy

There are two kinds of cooks—those who have their special recipes, closely guarding that family recipe that everyone wants and those who freely share the recipes. Both approaches are fine. It's perfectly okay to keep your recipe a secret. But I have always been in the "freely share" camp, mostly for selfish reasons. I knew that if I lost a recipe, someone I knew probably had the recipe and I could get it back. 

Clockwise from top left: Rolls; Applesauce & pecan w/glaze; Rosemary, garlic & olive oil; Peppers, onions & green chilies.

But there is a second reason to share that I'll admit I never considered. Sometimes a person can take your recipe and then expand it into new great things. That's what happened when Kathy, a good high school friend of my sister, saw my sourdough bread recipe here on the blog years ago. (It's recipe that my grandchildren call "Mimi bread.")

Here are some of the "conversations" she and I have had over the years on Facebook. Good thing I rarely delete anything! I even dug back through her Facebook photos to find pictures of many of the variations she tried. I love that she labeled her bread "adventures." If you want to experiment, here is how she does her special loaves... 

"Mimi, I really don't have any recipes for the breads except for yours. I just go to my spice cabinet and start pulling out whatever gets my attention and just "dump." I don't roll out the dough; I just add the ingredients and gently knead them into the dough. I should measure and write out a recipe for each variation sometime. So far, each loaf of bread has been well received."
And if you want to make one recipe into three different "flavors"...
"Yes, I have also added the ingredients after I divide the dough; just knead it [herbs, etc] in gently. Either way is fine and the end result is delicious!"


She has made some sweet bread variations, too. I stopped by a farm produce store on my way home from baby sitting last week and bought a loaf of apple bread. I was expecting a quick bread, but when we sliced it, it turned out to be a slightly sweet yeast bread with a glaze on top. Very close to Kathy's version she tells about here...
"I use the "Mimi bread" recipe. I used orange juice instead of the water in the recipe. I just added Craisins and pecans to the mixture before I added the flour. I didn't measure. Just 'til it looked right. Then just did a glaze of powdered sugar and orange juice. It is quite tasty."


So why have I never done rolls? No clue, except that I tend to stick with the basics in most things. Kathy is much more creative than I am. She talks here about making them in a muffin pan, but the photo shows that she's also done them in a cake pan.
"The rolls that I made are wonderful. Using your recipe, I just pinched off a little bit of dough for each section of the muffin pan. Cooked them for 20 minutes. Don't know why I haven't thought of that before."
Left: Knorr vegetable packet.  Right: Spicy tomato juice, Parmesan & Romano cheese.

She really has tried everything. She told me last week when I wrote to ask if I could share all of her suggestions and photos that the most requested "flavor" of all the things she has tried has been the rosemary, garlic and olive oil.

Left: Wheat w/flax seed.  Right: Wheat, flax seed & molasses.
I bake a lot of bread from Thanksgiving to about Valentine's Day and then will forget to feed it about then. It will die and I throw it away. Then I'll make new starter the next fall. But Kathy has a different way to manage her starter when she's done for the season. She freezes it!
"I know all about letting the starter die. I always freeze mine and it has done well until this year."
I didn't ask what she does when she's ready to use it again. I'd guess that she lets it thaw, feeds it, and uses it.

Right this minute, I have bread rising in the pans. Yes, just the plain basic sourdough that we love. These will go in the freezer for Christmas week when we have a full house here. And maybe before they get home, I'll get crazy and try some of Kathy's mix-ins. The only problem? Which one to try first!

Thank you, Kathy, for sharing your bread secrets.

The art of bread making can become an all-consuming hobby,
and no matter how often and how many kinds of bread one has made,
there always seems to be something new to learn. ~~Julia Child


For those of you who might have missed earlier posts with the basic bread recipe, here it is again: 

SOURDOUGH BREAD (also known as "Mimi Bread")

1 cup starter
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups warm water
6 or more cups bread flour (use the extra to flour the surface for kneading) 

Mix the bread ingredients. (I use a wire whisk to mix in the first 3 cups, then use a sturdy spoon for the next 3 cups. As you add the last cup of flour, work in about half of that cup and see if you need the rest. If not, save that half-cup for kneading the bread after the first rising.) Place in a large bowl, sprayed with PAM. Lightly spray the dough with PAM. Cover with plastic wrap. Let stand and rise at least 8 hours.

Punch down dough. Knead on floured board about 10 times. Divide into 3 parts. Spray three 8-inch loaf pans with PAM. Shape dough and place in pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let stand and rise until pans are full, about 5 to 6 hours.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until brown and bottom of loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.

Whole wheat bread: Use 2 cups whole wheat flour and 4 cups bread flour.

To feed starter: Remove 1 cup for baking (or discard) and feed with 1/3 cup sugar, 3 tbsp. instant potato flakes and 1 cup warm water. Mix well and let stand 8-12 hours. Then refrigerate. Store in plastic container with slits cut in lid. Feed every 3-7 days.

To make starter:  Double the feeding recipe. Put in a glass or plastic container, loosely covered. Let set out on counter for 4 days. Then add 1 envelope dry yeast. Let stand another 24 hours. Use 1 cup for first batch of bread or store in refrigerator for up to 7 days.

This bread freezes beautifully. It makes a great gift.

The art of bread making can become a consuming hobby, and no matter how often and how many kinds of bread one has made, there always seems to be something new to learn. Julia Child
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/bread.html
The art of bread making can become a consuming hobby, and no matter how often and how many kinds of bread one has made, there always seems to be something new to learn. Julia Child
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/bread.html






The art of bread making can become a consuming hobby, and no matter how often and how many kinds of bread one has made, there always seems to be something new to learn. Julia Child
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/bread.html
The art of bread making can become a consuming hobby, and no matter how often and how many kinds of bread one has made, there always seems to be something new to learn. Julia Child
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/bread.html
The art of bread making can become a consuming hobby, and no matter how often and how many kinds of bread one has made, there always seems to be something new to learn. Julia Child
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/bread.html

6 comments:

janie said...

Great minds think alike! I am on my 6th loaf of bread today! I live sharing my recipes.

Barb said...

Believe me, I've copied many of your recipes! I'm glad you share. Have you ever done a bread in the Dutch oven that is just flour, yeast, water (and spices or flavorings you put in it)? I'd like to try it, but it's a huge loaf, so I'd have to freeze half of it. Also, I'm not sure it would rise properly at high altitude.

Mimi said...

Barb, I have done that one. It was another case of not working with the soft Southern wheat flour. Lesson learned--finally. My normal flours are great for biscuits, cakes, cookies, but now when a yeast recipe calls for all-purpose flour I use King Arthur. Thinking maybe Gold Medal would also work, but I tend to stick with the one I'm sure about.

I am totally clueless about high altitude cooking. Might check with the help line of King Arthur or Fleischman's.

Mimi said...

I like that we both have "great minds!" My baking time is running out. More babysitting next week. Trying to finish as much as I can while I'm home this week.

ClemsonGirl said...

The first picture of rolls are the ones that were made in a muffin pan. They are more uniform when made in the muffin pan. This weekend I will be trying a pineapple pecan bread with a simple glaze. I think it would be a great breakfast bread. We'll see!

Mimi said...

I love pineapple anything. That sounds yummy!