Bread · freezer · Make-Ahead

Making Your Own Frozen French Bread Dough

So, I had a little accident last week. I decided to make my French Bread recipe for a meal I was preparing for guests that were coming the next day. We were having a Bible Conference at our church and I thought I had plenty of time to get the bread baked before it was time to leave. Well, I misjudged the time and realized after I’d made the dough and had it rising in the bowl for the first rise that I wouldn’t have time to bake the bread and still be on time for the service. Ahhhh! I was frustrated at myself for not calculating the time correctly!

Then I had a thought…

I wonder if I can freeze the dough after it rises in the bowl?

So often when I wonder if something would freeze well, I simply let my mind wander the aisles of the frozen goods at the grocery store. Then I realized, “Yes! I know they sell frozen frozen loaves that are ready to set out and rise, so surely I could shape these loaves and freeze them before I leave for church!”

I took the bread and shaped it into the French loaves and placed them on a greased baking sheet.

I covered them with Syran Wrap and put them in the freezer and headed out for our Bible conference at church. Then before I went to bed that night, I took the loaves out of the freezer and placed them in the fridge to thaw overnight.

When I was ready to bake them, I set them on the counter where they rose for about 30 minutes. Then I finished as the recipe says, and cut the slits on top and baked them as usual.

They rose beautifully and my husband told me they were better than any other time I’ve made them!

This was a really happy accident! Now I know I can work ahead and get the dough made way ahead of time. It’s nice to know I can just have bread loaves hanging out in the freezer until I need them! Working ahead is my favorite way to prep meals!

So, first of all, let me say that this recipe is super easy! Now you know how to prep the first part and freeze them. Then when you’re ready for a hot loaf of homemade French Break all you’ll need is about 45 minutes total to let them rise and bake them! It doesn’t get fresher than that!

Have you tried freezing bread dough? Here’s a roll recipe that freezes great too, and is our favorite for special meals like Thanksgiving!

I hope you’ll give this freezing method a try!

Bread · Dinner · Easy recipe

Popovers ~ the Perfect Dinnertime Bread

I don’t know why I never made popovers before; they’re so good and also easy to make!

It was my daughter who said that to me recently, and I’m wondering who else has not made popovers for dinnertime?

They are whipped up in a matter of about 5 minutes. You simply mix and pour the batter into pans. They are then “POPPED” into the oven where they bake and POP UP in the pan in about 40 minutes. The outsides are crispy and the insides are moist and tender. They’re a great accompaniment to so many different kinds of meals!

Popovers

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon shortening or nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt 

Directions

Instructions Checklist

  • Step 1 Using 1/2 teaspoon shortening for each cup, grease the bottoms and sides of six 6-ounce custard cups or cups of a popover pan. (Or, lightly coat cups with cooking spray.) Place the custard cups on a 15x10x1-inch baking pan; set aside. Note: I use a regular muffin tin and it works great!
  • Step 2 In a medium bowl use a wire whisk or rotary beater to beat eggs, milk, and oil until combined. Add flour and salt; beat until smooth. Don’t overbeat. Just mix until everything is well combined.
  • Step 3 Fill the prepared cups half full with batter. Bake in a 400 degree F oven about 40 minutes or until very firm.
  • Step 4 Immediately after removing from oven, prick each popover to let steam escape. Turn off the oven. For crisper popovers, return popovers to oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until desired crispness is reached. Remove popovers from cups; serve immediately. Makes 6 popovers.

If I have leftovers, I put them into a 400 degree oven to warm them and crisp them back up again. It only takes about 5 – 7 minutes.

Are you one that has never tried popovers? I hope you’ll remedy that this week!

Bread · breakfast · muffin · Quick Bread

French Breakfast Puffs

French Breakfast Puffs

While visiting my parents recently, I wanted to make a muffin for breakfast that wouldn’t require any “special” ingredients. I thought for a minute, then these beauties came to my mind…French Breakfast Puffs. They require the basics – flour, butter, eggs, milk and spices. The muffin is so fluffy and delicious and it is encased in a crunchy, buttery, cinnamon/sugar coating.
These have been a favorite in our family for years! Here’s the simple recipe:

French Breakfast Puffs

1 1/2 C flour
3/4 C sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 C milk
1 egg, beaten
1/3 C butter, melted


Topping
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 C sugar
1/3 C butter, melted

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.  Add milk, beaten egg, and 1/3 cup melted butter.  Mix well.  Fill greased muffin tins 2/3 full and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. 
While the puffs are baking, mix the cinnamon, sugar in a shallow dish. Place the melted butter in another shallow dish.
Remove the muffins from the pan while still hot; dip in melted butter, then mixture of sugar and cinnamon.  Makes 1 dozen

These are heaven! What a delicious way to start the day!

Do you have a “go-to” muffin you make? If not, these are a great choice!

Bread · breakfast

Sour Dough English Muffins

Sour Dough English Muffins make getting up in the morning a delight! When you have a yummy breakfast item waiting for your first meal, you’ll be glad that you went to the trouble to bake these the day before! These don’t take any more patience than sugar cookies would, and they are truly worth the effort. I hadn’t made these in a while, so I decided to bake up a batch and get them in the freezer to keep on hand. Yummo! These are just delicious!

I got 25 muffins for just pennies. As I intimated earlier, these freeze great, so we’ll be able to enjoy them for a long while! I like to mix up the dough and let it set overnight. In the morning, here was my “happy little loaf”(I Love Lucy fans will recognize that phrase!)

The dough is rolled into 1/2″ thickness and cut in 3″ circles and left to rise for an hour.

Then the muffins are transferred to a skillet where they are cooked on medium heat until browned.  They are then placed in the oven for a few minutes to finish baking the insides.

Fresh from the oven…

 Mmmm!

Here’s the recipe for the Sour Dough muffins from King Arthur Flour:
2 tablespoons (7/8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 cups (16 ounces) warm water, 105° to 110°F
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 cup sourdough starter
7 to 8 cups (1 pound, 13 3/4 ounces to 2 pounds 2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) non-fat dry milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sour salt (citric acid), optional
approximately 2 tablespoons cornmeal or semolina

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the sugar in the warm water. Stir in and dissolve the yeast, and then mix in the sourdough starter and 1 cup of flour. Let this sit for a few minutes, until the mixture begins to bubble.

Add the dry milk, butter, salt, sour salt (if you’re using it; it’s a nice flavor-booster) and a second cup of flour, and beat well. Add 5 to 6 cups of flour, one cup at a time, to form a dough that holds together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it until it’s smooth and springy, but slightly on the slack side, about 8 minutes. Add flour only as necessary to prevent sticking. Clean out and grease your bowl and place the dough in the greased bowl, turning it so that a thin film of oil coats all sides. If you want muffins with just a hint of sourness, cover the dough with plastic wrap or a damp towel, let it stand until it has doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours, and proceed from * below. If you want muffins with a more pronounced sour flavor, be sure to add the sour salt to the dough for extra tang; then cover the finished dough with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let it sit overnight, or up to 24 hours, in a cool place.

* When the dough has risen your chosen length of time, punch it down, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, cover it and let it sit for a few minutes (to relax the gluten). Divide the dough into two pieces and roll each piece out separately to a 1/2-inch thickness. Cut the dough into 3-inch rounds; re-roll and cut any remaining scraps. Place the rounds, evenly spaced, onto cornmeal- or semolina-sprinkled baking sheets (12 or 13 rounds per sheet), sprinkle them with additional cornmeal or semolina, cover with plastic wrap, and let them rise until light and puffy, about 1 hour.

Carefully transfer the rounds (as many as a time that will fit without crowding) right-side up to a large electric griddle preheated to 350°F, or to an ungreased frying pan that has been preheated over medium heat. Cook them for about 10 to 12 minutes on each side, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of a muffin registers 190°F. Remove them from the griddle and cool on a rack. Note: If you find you’re having trouble getting the muffins to cook all the way through on a griddle, cook on both sides as directed, then finish in a 350°F oven.

Yield: twenty-five 3-inch English muffins.

You can make a wonderful breakfast sandwich with these, adding scrambled eggs, Canadian bacon and a tomato slice. They’re also great as little pizzas for lunch! If you don’t want to go to the fuss of these muffins, try English Muffin Toasting Bread.

“The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul.” Proverbs 13:19  The extra effort is definitely worth it!

Refresh breakfast (or lunch) with a homemade English muffin!

Appetizer · Bread · Mentoring

Homemade Pita Bread

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If you’ve read my blog for more than a week, you know I love bread!  I love eating it, making it and I enjoy trying to bake lots of different kinds!

When I was planning a dinner this summer that included Greek Chicken, I thought about trying to make my own Pita Bread. I know you can buy it, but the last time I did, I could NOT get the pocket to separate so it could be stuffed with fillings!  Also, they’re usually dry and tasteless!  So I set out looking for a recipe that sounded perfect and doable!

Well, friends, that search led me to the best tasting Pita Bread I’ve ever put in my mouth! Honestly, every time I eat one I feel like I’m eating a pastry! The little bit of honey added gives it just the perfect taste of sweetness! Continue reading “Homemade Pita Bread”