Apple Loaf

It’s apple season people! I guess you already knew this. I made this apple loaf in 3 mini loaves instead, if you do this make sure to check it periodically. I also used some Trader Joe’s Cinnamon Sugar on the top before baking. What I like about this loaf is that it is not too sweet.

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Apple Loaf

Makes 1 Loaf

2 tart apples, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces (3 cups)
3 Tbs plus 1 cup sugar, divided
1 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup butter, softened
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven 350*.

In a large bowl, combine the apples, 3 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Let stand for one hour to get the juices out.

In a separate bowl, cream butter and remaining sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then add the vanilla.

In a different bowl, combine flour and salt; slowly add to creamed mixture and beat until smooth.  Then fold in the apples.

Transfer to a greased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pan.

Bake at 350° for about an 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.  Run a knife along the outside edge and then invert onto a wire rack.  Serve warm.

Prosciutto Ring

In 1986, after my stint working at WNET on a show produced by Walter Cronkite, I got a job in the design studio of a toy company called North American Bear.  The “office / studio” was in a brown stone on Leroy Street off Bleeker Street in the village.  One of my jobs was to feed Fred, the ferret, mashed up bananas or avocados in the morning and periodically give him a bath in piña colada ferret shampoo (yes, it exists) to try to mask the underlying funky skunk-like odor that he exuded.  He used to sit under my desk and lick the fake tanning lotion off my ankles.  Needless to say, this was a very interesting and entertaining job.  I loved being around so many talented designers.

Anyway, this is a very long-winded way of explaining my love of Proscuitto bread.  There was this Italian bakery on Bleeker called Zito’s that sold this prosciutto bread that was to die for.  We would buy it and eat the entire loaf, usually with a bottle of wine (after office hours, of course).  For some reason, I thought of it the other day and called up my friend  and ex boss to ask her what the name of the bakery was.  I could not remember it.  Unfortunately, Zito’s went out of business.  This is a short film about the closing, you can watch it here. I trolled around the internet and found this recipe, which is as close as you’re ever going to get to the real thing.

Barley malt syrup is an unrefined sweetener produced from sprouted, or malted barley.  It is dark brown, thick and sticky; and possesses a strong distinctive flavor that can only be described as “malty.”

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Prosciutto Ring

Makes 1 ring

2 cups plus 3 Tbs bread flour or unbleached all purpose flour
1 Tbs malt syrup, honey or sugar
3/4 tsp instant yeast
scant 1/2 tsp coarsely cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp salt
4 tsp bacon fat, lard, or butter, melted
1 cup water, 70 – 90 degrees F
3/4 cup proscuitto, pepperoni, and hot sopressta sausage, cut into 1/4 – 1/2 inch pieces

Using the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, thoroughly combine 2 cups flour, black pepper, cayenne pepper and yeast. Add salt and mix. (Note: the salt is added after mixing to avoid it coming into direct contact with the yeast.)

Swapping to the dough hook, add water and malt syrup (or honey or sugar) to bowl and combine with flour at low speed (#2 on a Kitchen Aid) until moistened. Increase speed to medium (#4 on a KA) and knead for seven minutes. Add prosciutto and mix in on low. Dough should be slightly tacky but not sticky. If it is too sticky add a bit more flour a tablespoon at a time and knead in, if too dry, spray with a bit of water and knead in.

Dump dough onto a lightly floured counter, shape into a ball, dust lightly with flour, brush with bacon fat (or lard or butter) and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rest for 20 minutes.

Place baking stone or a baking sheet on the bottom shelf of the oven and a baking sheet on the bottom of the oven. Heat oven to 450F.

Roll dough into an 18-inch rope, form into a ring, overlapping ends by two inches on a sheet of parchment paper. Cover with a large bowl or oiled plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in bulk – about one hour.

Transfer bread on parchment to stone or baking sheet. (Use a peel if bread is on parchment.) Toss half a dozen ice cubes into the pan on the bottom of the oven.

Bake for 15 minutes, remove parchment, and rotate bread 180 degrees. Bake another five minutes and reduce heat to 400F. Cook another 10 to 15 minutes. Turn oven off, prop open door, and leave the bread in the oven for five minutes.

Remove bread from oven, brush again with bacon fat or butter, and allow to cool completely.

Starbucks Lemon Loaf


My family loves anything lemony. My husband, Eric, always says nothing can be too lemony. Here is a copycat version of Starbucks Lemon Loaf. I made 3 mini loaves.

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Starbucks Lemon Loaf

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

2 Tbs butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp lemon extract

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup oil

Lemon Icing

1 cup powdered sugar, plus 1 Tbs

2 Tbs whole milk
1/2 tsp lemon extract

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

Use a mixer to blend together the eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, lemon extract and lemon juice in a medium bowl.
Pour wet ingredient into the dry ingredients and blend until smooth.

Add oil and mix well.

Pour batter into a well greased 9×5-inch loaf pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a toothpick stuck into center of the cake comes out clean.
Make the lemon icing by combining all the icing ingredients in a small bowl with an electric mixer on low speed.

When the loaf is cool, remove it from pan and frost the top with the icing.
 Let the icing set up before slicing.

Gege’s “Jiffy Rolls” Basic Dough

This very old fashioned recipe comes from my husband’s grandmother. My brother-in-law, Russell, made them. The recipe includes 3 extra variations.

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Gege’s “Jiffy Rolls” Basic Dough

¼ cup sugar
1 tsp salt​
¼ cup soft shortening or butter
¾ cup lukewarm milk
1 large egg
1 cake compressed yeast (0.6 oz) or one packet dry yeast
2¼ cup sifted flour
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp mace or cinnamon

Mix together sugar, salt, shortening or butter, milk and egg.

Crumble yeast into mixture and stir until dissolved. Add the flour and spices. Beat for one minute (at least 100 strokes).

Scrape dough from sides of bowl, cover with damp cloth and let rise @ 85 degrees F until double in bulk (about 1¾ hours).

Beat well (20-30 strokes).

Make into any shaped rolls desired (makes 12 good-sized rolls).

Sugar & Spice Puffs
Drop by spoonfuls into 12 medium-sized greased muffin pans. Let rise 30-45 minutes.

Bake about 15 minutes at 400 degrees, dip tops and sides immediately in 6 Tbs melted butter, then roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture (1/2 cup sugar and 1 Tbs cinnamon).

Merry Morning Ring
Place dough in ring and let rise 30-45 minutes. Bake 30-35 minutes @ 350 degrees. While still warm, frost with a mixture of ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar and about 1 Tbs milk. Decorate with nuts and maraschino cherries if desired.

Yankee Clipper Coffee Cake
Place dough in square pan. Sprinkle with mixture of ¼ cup sugar, 2 tsp cinnamon, 2 Tbs flour and 2 Tbs butter. Let rise 45 minutes. Bake 30-35 minutes @ 350 degrees.

Fresh Tomato Rolls

Months ago, when my brother-in-law Russell was in town, we decided to make these tomato rolls from a magazine called Cucina Italiana. Russell worked hard making the dough. We waited eagerly by the oven to try these unusual rolls. They were a complete flop. The dough was rock hard like a hockey puck! I have been looking at this recipe forever and given that it’s prime tomato season, I decided it’s time to make it work. I cut the dough out completely to make it super easy and use frozen bread rolls. Here are the photos to help guide you through our Italian fiasco!

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Fresh Tomato Rolls
Panini Ripieni Arrotolati

Makes 6 rolls

Fine sea salt
6 medium tomatoes
6 frozen dinner rolls, thawed to room temperature (use raw dough, not all ready cooked rolls!)
Olive oil for brushing
cooking oil spray

Heat oven to 250º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Drop tomatoes into water and boil 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer tomatoes to a colander to drain. Quarter tomatoes lengthwise, then seed.

Place tomatoes on prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt. Bake until tomatoes are partially dried but still moist, about 2 hours. Meanwhile, prepare dough.

Combine dough, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes. Cut dough into 6 equal pieces, then roll out each piece into a rectangular sheet, about 8 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches.

When tomatoes are ready, transfer baking sheet to a wire rack to cool. Meanwhile, line a second baking sheet with parchment paper. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead several times to remove air. Cut dough into 6 equal pieces, then roll out each piece into a rectangular sheet, about 8 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches.

Brush dough with oil, leaving a 1/4-inch border, then divide tomatoes among dough.

Roll dough, from short ends in toward center, leaving a slight gap at center, and pinch ends to seal. Arrange on prepared baking sheet, cover with sprayed plastic wrap and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature, for about an hour.

Heat oven to 350º with rack in middle.

Brush tops of rolls with oil and bake, rotating pan once halfway through, until golden brown, about 25 minutes.

The Original Suffolk Bread Baker

There are two reasons why I made this bread. One is that I found this terra cotta bread pan from the Henry Watson Potteries in the cupboard of my mother-in-law’s house. The second reason is that we got new ovens and it has a proofing selection and I wanted to try it out.  The finished product is not a thing of beauty, but it is delicious.  This was probably due to the fact that I left the premisses while it was rising and it overflowed a bit.  It’s an English toasting bread, perfect for butter and strawberry jam.

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The Original Suffolk Bread Baker

Before using for the first time, grease the Bread Baker well, and bake in a hot oven for about 30 minutes. This stops the baker cracking and the loaf from sticking.

For best results use only in the oven, never over a naked flame. Avoid extreme changes of temperature and dry thoroughly before storing.

1lb plain / 450 g wholemeal or wholewheat flour
2 level tsp / 10 ml freshly ground sea salt
2 tsp / 10 ml honey
1/2 oz / 15 g margarine
1/2 oz / 15 g fresh yeast or 1 1/2/ 7.5 ml level tsp dried yeast
1/2 pint / 300 ml tepid water
milk or water to glaze

Grease the baker. Mix the flour, salt and honey in a bowl and rub in the margarine.

Blend the fresh yeast with the water. If using dried yeast, sprinkle it into the water and leave in a warm place for about 15 minutes until frothy. Add the yeast liquid to the flour, mixing to a soft dough that leaves the bowl clean.

Knead the dough thoroughly on a floured surface for about 10 minutes and place in the greased baker. Cover with a clean cloth and leave to rise until doubled in size.

Brush the top lightly with milk or water and bake in the oven at 230’C (450F) mark 8 for 30—40 minutes until well risen and firm. Turn out and leave to cool.

Olive Oil Pistachio Biscotti

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Guest blogger Jessica, Denver, CO. from Beauty Marks again.

As I think I’ve said before, I love any recipe where I have every ingredient in my kitchen. This one not only met that qualification but also was one of the best cookie recipes I’ve ever made. My children remarked that dipping these in chocolate sauce might enhance their appeal, and I can’t dispute that. So that’s for next time.

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Olive Oil Pistachio Biscotti
Adapted from Serious Eats

2 cups (10 oz) plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup (7 oz) sugar
2 eggs
1 cup shelled pistachios (I used salted and omitted the teaspoon of salt above)

Mix together flour, salt, and baking powder; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk olive oil and sugar until combined, then whisk in eggs. Add dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms. Stir in pistachios. Divide dough in two and wrap each half in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.

Place oven rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350°F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Form each half of dough into an approximately 3 1/2-inch by 8-inch log and place on the cookie sheet. Bake until golden, 40 to 45 minutes. Take cookies out of oven and decrease oven temperature to 300°F.

When cool enough to handle, use a serrated knife to cut logs on the bias to form 1-inch wide cookies. Place cookies, cut side down, on baking sheet. Place back in oven and bake until dry and toasted, about 10 minutes more.

Swedish Limpa Bread

When my brother-in-law, Russell, was in town he made an entire Swedish meal – Swedish Meatballs (Köttbullar) with Gravy and Swedish Creamed Potatoes.  He also made this wonderful bread.  Swedish limpa, is moist rye bread is flavored with citrus peel. The result is a very flavorful, fragrant loaf of bread.

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Swedish Limpa Bread 

(The Fannie Farmer Baking Book, 1st Edition, 1984)

[Russell’s comments – RM are in brackets]

One of my favorites—a slightly sweet bread that is flavored with orange and rye and is absolutely delicious.

2 packages dry yeast
2½ cups warm water [105-115 degrees F…any hotter and the yeast will die]
2½ cups rye flour
3 to 4 cups all-purpose flour [RM maybe even a bit more, see my note at end]
1 Tbs salt
½ cup finely chopped seeded orange, including rind [RM: one clementine works well]
3 Tbs honey
¼ cup brown sugar
4 Tbs (1/2 stick) butter, softened

Glaze: [RM—I don’t bother with this]
1 egg white mixed with
1 Tbs water

Stir the yeast and warm water together in a large mixing bowl, and let stand for a minute or so to dissolve. Add the rye flour, 2 ½ cups of the all-purpose flour, the salt, chopped orange, honey, brown sugar, and butter, and beat to blend thoroughly. Add enough additional all-purpose flour to make a manageable dough, and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for a minute or two, then let rest for 10 minutes. [RM: I always need a pastry scraper with a rye bread dough because it will stick to the wood board at first]

Resume kneading for about 10 minutes, sprinkling on enough all-purpose flour to keep the dough from being too sticky. Knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until double in bulk [RM I put it in my oven barely heated to 85 degrees, it takes about an hour to rise there].

Punch the dough down and shape into two round loaves. Place several inches apart on a greased baking sheet, and slash a 1/2 –inch-deep cross in the top of each loaf, using a sharp knife or razor blade. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and a towel, and let rise until double in bulk. Brush the tops of the risen loaves with the egg-white glaze, and bake in a pre-heated 350-degree F oven for 45 minutes. Remove from the baking sheet and cool on a rack.

[RM: I put the loaves on one cookie sheet, sort of in opposite corners, but they can spread out too much and merge and overflow and end up quite flat. More flour might make the dough thicker but also harder to manage, so maybe baking in bread pans would be a solution. But it tastes good even is the loaf isn’t the highest…enjoy!]

Focaccia

Another gift on the front porch! My friend, Chris, dropped off 5 pounds of Caputo “00” flour fresh off the boat from Italy.  We are actually planning a pizza extravaganza to recreate what we learned at the Mozza Scuola di Pizza.  We might even make our own mozzarella.  Stayed tuned!

Caputo 00 flour is really good for pizza dough because, it’s finely ground, and has a lower gluten content than most flours. The “00” refers to the texture of the flour: Italian flours are classified by numbers according to how finely they are ground, from the roughest ground “tipo”1, to 0, and the finest 00.

Gluten is the natural protein that stays when starch is removed from wheat grains, creates the elasticity of bread. The lower the protein content of the flour, the lower the gluten, and the lower the gluten, the less elasticity there will be in your dough (cake flour has the lowest gluten level). Gluten levels are controlled by selecting different strands of wheat for processing: high-gluten bread flour is made from wheat that has 14-15% gluten. Meanwhile, the Caputo 00 is made from a selection of the finest grains the Caputo family can find to give your dough just enough, but not too much, stretch at 12.5% gluten.  You can buy Caputo “00” flour here on Amazon.

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Focaccia

1 1/2 cups water
4 Tbs olive oil
4 cups bread flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp dry active yeast

Add the water and olive oil, then cover the liquid with flour . Add the salt (half each in two corners), then make small well in the middle of the flour and add the yeast. Start the dough cycle, which will last for roughly 90 minutes.
Coat an oval or square metal baking dish, roughly 9″ x 13″ and 2″-3″ deep liberally with olive oil.

Take your dough and gently stretch it until it is roughly the shape of you pan, lay it in the pan, and push it into the corners to fit. Giggle the pan back and forth to make sure the bottom of the dough is coated and slides smoothly. Cover and let rest of an hour, or until it has risen by half.

Push down an interesting pattern of indentations using your fingers, coat the top with yet more olive oil to fill the indentations, and bake in a moderately hot brick oven. If your fire is bright and your dome hot, you might want to wait for it to cool down.
Depending on your oven temperature, your focaccia should cook for somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes.

Variations:
Parmesan and rosemary — knead the cheese and herbs into the dough after the last one hour rise.
Gray salt and pickle red pepper
Fresh sage
Olive tapenade
Mixed olives
Grilled onion
Grilled zucchini and cherry tomatoes
Potato
Potato, onion and leek
Dried tomato and pin nuts
Thyme and gray salt
Mozzarella, tomato and fresh basil

Cornbread

corn breadWhen my husband, Eric, made jambalaya, he also made cornbread. Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen Cornbread to be exact. We only had 1/3 cup of sugar, so he used 1/3 granulated sugar and 1/3 brown sugar and it worked. I know how you feel about sugar in cornbread Barbara! Also, it works well in a spring-form pan.

Cornbread

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
⅔ cup cornmeal
½ cup corn flour
⅔ cup sugar
5 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1½ cups milk
5 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
1 whole egg, beaten

How to prepare

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl combine the flour, cornmeal, corn flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; mix well, breaking up any lumps. In a separate bowl combine the milk, butter and egg and add to the dry ingredients; blend just until mixed and large lumps are dissolved. Do not over-beat.

Pour the mixture into a lightly oiled baking pan and bake at 350°F until golden brown, about 40-55 minutes.