Flours

Red Red Raspberry

Late summer is raspberry season. Unfortunately it is also smoke season. Smoke season in Montana forces me to spend more time indoors than I would hope. I turn to what I call “food crafting”. I use my garden harvest and make things like pesto, pickles, jam, dehydrated herbs, etc. Stay tuned for spicy dilly beans,Continue reading “Red Red Raspberry”

Once upon a scone.

Scones are the baked good I make the most. They are my absolute favorite. They are a tender cross between a cookie, muffin, and biscuit, designed to be nibbled while drinking a hot beverage. BASIC SCONES4 C flour6 T sugar8 t baking powder1 C butter (2 sticks) cubed1 C milk or half and half orContinue reading “Once upon a scone.”

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Things made with Flour.

Scones

I love scones. They are my number one favorite thing to bake but also favorite treat.

My basic recipe is almost always the same, I deviate based on the flavors I add. Sometimes you have to change the amount of wet ingredients if you are adding something wet like berries.

BASIC SCONES
4 C flour
6 T sugar
8 t baking powder
1 C butter (2 sticks) cubed
1 C milk or half and half or almond milk
2 eggs (beaten)
2 t vanilla

Combine your dry ingredients.

Cut in the butter until its is in pea sized pieces. Mix your milk, vanilla, and eggs together in a separate bowl. Make a well in the center and pour the wet ingredients in. Fold the dough onto itself and mix until just combined, don’t overmix. Add in whatever you want. Bake at 400 for 18 minutes. Cool. Glaze. Because the best scones have glaze.


Sourdough Bagels

Saturday mornings are for bagels and coffee. This morning I made bagels. I must be honest and tell you that I actually starting making bagels last night. So, Friday nights are for feeding starter and making dough, then tucking it in for the night.

This was my second attempt at sourdough bagels. I have to say, I am pleased. Let’s go through step by step, in case you want to make these pillowy goddesses.

Ingredients:
1/14 cups water
2 cups ripe sourdough starter ( you can read in my weekly-s page how to feed your starter, p.s. ripe is a technical term)
5 cups flour (any flour- if you use white flour you may need about 5 1/4-1/2, if you use wheat, definitely only 5, I use Wheat Montana flour)
1 tablespoon salt ( I use pink himalayan)
1 tablespoon olive oil (+1 tablespoon olive oil to coat the bread bowl later)

Other stuff you need!:
Mixer
cling wrap
damp flour sack towel
flour to roll dough out on
cookie sheets with parchment paper
Boiling water and between a teaspoon and tablespoon of baking soda
wooden spoon
cooling racks- to let the bagels drip dry before baking
cornmeal to keep the bagels from sticking to the cookie sheet
egg wash- 1 egg, splash o water
kitchen brush
toppings!!!! See below- whatever you want!

A caveat before we begin, I have probably looked at about 20 recipes for bagels/sourdough bagels. I have a kitchen aid mixer and it is easiest to use a dough hook for making the bagel dough. The dough gets quite stiff, but if you want an arm workout, you can feel free to kneed by hand. First, I mix the 2 cups starter with the water in the mixer bowl. I use a fork. I make sure the starter is completely dissolved then I add the flour, salt, and oil. I turn on the mixer with the dough hook and stir until just combined, but you can still see a little flour that isn’t quite mixed in. Then shut her down and let the dough sit just as it is for about 10 minutes. Go feed your starter again, pour a glass of wine, do a dish or two, then come back. This stage is a crazy science stage called autolysis. Again if you don’t know a lot about sourdough, read my bread section in weekly-s.

OK, Turn your mixer back on and let it go for about 2 minutes at a low speed, then turn it up to medium for another 2 minutes. Your mixer, depending on her age, might start to struggle near the end, if so just turn it down and keep an eye on it. I gifted myself a new mixer in December, happy birthday to me, so mine does fine with the stiff dough. When its done mixing I lift the head of my mixer up, with dough still attached to hook and pour a little olive oil, about a tablespoon in my bowl, swipe it around to coat the bowl then peel the dough off the hook and place in the bowl. Tuck it in overnight with a damp towel over the top or some cling wrap on the counter. Tell your dough, “I’ll see you in the morning!” then continue your Friday night. For me, it was watching cold case files with my husband and drinking a delicious raspberry sour beer.

On Saturday morning, whenever you decide to rise and shine, dump your dough out of the bowl onto a floured surface. I have a large silpat I use, easy clean up. DO NOT KNEED THE DOUGH! Coax your dough into an oval and slightly flatten it. Cut the dough into equal squares, if you have some little ones your can combine those. It depends on the size of your squares as to how big the bagels will be. I did about 18, I vary them in size. Sometimes its nice to have baby bagels.

Now you need to shape the bagels. Take a square in your hand and use the C part of your hand between your thumb and index finger to round the edges, pull the dough around the edges down underneath then use your thumb and index finger to squeeze through the center of the rounded dough. Next stretch the hole a little and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Repeat- until your bagels are shaped.

Now you have about an hour. In this time you could go back to bed, take your dog for a walk, or go to hot yoga. I did the latter. I left my shaped bagels on the counter and covered them with a damp towel.

An hour later they had risen slightly, were pillowy and ready to go for a swim. I brought water to a boil in a large pot, while this was happening I chose my toppings. Once the water was boiling I added some baking soda. This is where I reverted back to my previous self. I got a spoon out of the utensil drawer, stuck it in the baking soda and dumped it in. It was not a soup spoon, but a smaller spoon. It was larger than a teaspoon but less than a tablespoon. Rats. As you can see about I gave a general guideline, I don’t think it really matters.

I boiled 3 at a time so I could keep them from touching. You boil them for about a minute, flipping them over at the 30 second mark. I used a wooden spoon to do this and it worked great. I did not set a timer, I just counted to 30, I got out all my toppings during the 30 second increments I boiled the bagels in and made an egg wash.
I transferred the boiled bagels to wire rack so they could drip dry a little.

I set the oven temp to 450 degrees and I egg washed all my bagels so my toppings would stick. Then I prepped my cookie sheets for baking by sprinkling them with cornmeal. This helps the bagels not to stick and adds a nice texture to the bottom of the bagels. Finally I transferred the bagels to the cookie sheets and…topping time! I did 5 different types of bagels, just to keep it interesting. I did 4 jalapeno cheddar, 4 cinnamon sugar, 5 everything, 2 garlic (Matt’s favorite), and 2 parmesan. I didn’t do any plain ones- because I like toppings- but do whatever you want!

Bake at 450 about 20-25 minutes, but mine took 27. It depends on your oven and probably how big your bagels are.

Cool. Stand back and admire your bagels.

Cut, toast, shmear, enjoy. Sigh.

Cranberry Nut Bread

Is there anything for you that just says “home” and “holidays”? For me it’s cranberry nut bread. My mom makes this bread every holiday season at Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s my favorite thing in the world. I have been making it for a few years. It never turns out exactly like hers. But its close.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of flour (sifted)
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs beaten (1 large egg, 2 small eggs)
  • 1 T orange zest
  • 2/3 cups orange juice +2 T melted butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup chopped cranberries

Another thing I love about this recipe is that it all goes in one bowl. I love it when its simple. First I mix all the dry ingredients together including the sugar with a whisk. Add the chopped nuts and cranberries and stir. Then add the liquids and the eggs (beat the eggs first). Stir until just combined. Do not over mix. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Spicy Ginger Molasses Cookies

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of flour
  • 2 t ginger
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t cloves
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 1 t cardamom
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter- room temp
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 1/3 c molasses
  • granulated sugar to roll dough in

These cookies are the best. You can make them either chewy or crunchy. I usually do half the batch chewy and half the batch crunchy. First mix all the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Cream butter and brown sugar. Add 1 egg, then vanilla and then molasses (for molasses-I always spray my measuring cup with cooking spray- helps the molasses come out easier). Slowly add the dry ingredients. Chill the dough for 2 hours. Shape dough into balls approximately 1 inch, roll in sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes (8 for more chewy, 10 for more crispy). Cool. Enjoy.

Sourdough English Muffin Toasting Bread

I love toast. To me it is the breakfast of choice. English muffins have this lovely texture with cornmeal on them. I have been perfecting an English muffin bread that has sourdough starter with a tiny bit of commercial yeast to speed up the process. It’s love. You’ll see.

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup fed bubbly active starter
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1/2 t yeast
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 T olive oil
  • Cornmeal for coating the baking pan and sprinkling on top

This recipe is very flexible. But it creates a lovely textured toast and it doesn’t take as long as traditional sourdough if you need a quicker option. One thing I love about this bread in particular is its one bowl bread, no need for a mixer as long as you dont mind a little elbow grease. Minimal dishes. Real basic. Sometimes I use a mixture of more whole wheat flour, wheat germ- nuts and seeds- if I am craving something seedy. That being said, you will loose some of holes that way- whole wheat flour often creates a more dense sponge (in my experience- coming at you as a novice home kitchen baker).

Lets get down to it. Feed your starter ideally the day before and day of. Measure 1 cup out into a large bowl. Add the 1/2 cup warm water, sugar, and yeast. Stir vigorously with a fork to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes. During this time I prep my bread pan. Oil or spray then sprinkle cornmeal on the bottom and sides covering evenly. Once the yeast has had a few minutes, add the flours and salt. Bring the dough together with a fork, it will be shaggy and soft. Add 2 T of olive oil and this stage and start kneading the dough together to from a ball in the bowl. Once the dough is a little stretchy and has come together stop kneading- you can overdo this step. I go based off of how the dough feels. It will still be a little sticky. Place and pat into the bread pan- spread to the edges, no need to form or make a dome of any kind- that will happen on its own as it rises.

Sprinkle with cornmeal. Cover with plastic wrap- yes, it needs the plastic wrap. I have tried other things. There is something about the seal and contained air space. The bread will puff to just over the edge to the pan in a little dome. The cornmeal will keep it from sticking to the plastic wrap. Unfortunately I cant give you a specific timeframe. If its warm you may only need to leave it out for 30 minutes. But I have let mine rise for up to 2 hours before. It just depends.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the plastic wrap and bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes. The internal temp of the bread should be about 190. It should have a lovely little crust on it. Enjoy with butter, jam, goat cheese, cream cheese, avocado, nut butter, any or all the things that go on toast.

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