Category Archives: Bakery

Easy Stir and Roll Pie Crust

This is a nice easy pie crust that I use for my apple pie.  It’s quick to make and assemble which is a plus when the sudden urge for home made pie strikes and you don’t have time to wait around for butter to freeze.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup cold milk

Directions:

  1. Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl.
  2. Add the milk and oil together to the dry ingredients.
  3. Use a fork to mix them together.
  4. Use your hands to finish pressing the ingredients together.
  5. For a top and bottom crust: form the dough into a ball and cut in half.
  6. Shape one half into a hockey puck and use a rolling pin to roll it out between two sheets of wax paper.
  7. Once rolled to size, remove the top sheet of wax paper, slide your hand under the bottom sheet, and invert the crust into the pie dish.  Discard the remaining piece of wax paper.
  8. Press the crust into place.  Cut off excess pieces and use them to patch any holes in the crust.
  9. Use the tines of a fork to press holes in the crust before adding whatever filling.
  10. Roll out the top crust between sheets of wax paper, as instructed above.
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Filed under Bakery

Homemade Bagels

These bagels rock.  It only takes about an hour to create your own plateful of fresh bagels to see you through the week.  I tried bagels once before, but the result turned out poor since in a fit of idiocy I smooshed my poofy risen rounds down and ended up with boiled baked frisbees.  I thought they had risen too much and figured they’d re-poof during boiling or baking.  I was wrong, horribly horribly wrong.  This go around, I stuck closer to the directions I found on my first google hit for “whole wheat sesame bagels” and only made moderate changes to the recipe.

Whenever trying something beyond your usual comfort zone it is good to master the technique first before improvising.  I have still yet to make a good sandwich bread because I have yet to master kneading.  My impatience in learning how to consistently knead white bread by hand to the right satiny feel before I move on to more difficult to work flours to create the honey infused whole wheat or rye bread that I crave has led to numerous “bread bricks,” salvaged as croutons but good for nothing else.

Update: Since making this recipe, I’ve done several other batches, modifying the recipe each time.  I’ve still yet to find the supreme bagel recipe, but this is a good baseline for quick and easy baked fare.  In my next rendition, which I will post since the ingredients are quite different from this batch, I plan to half the yeast and double the rising time bouts to develop the flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups white flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cup water

Directions:

  1. Pulse all the dry ingredients (flours, sugar, salt, yeast) together a few times in a food processor fitted with the dough paddle to combine.
  2. Add the oil and 1 1/4 water while the food processor is on.  Add up to 1/4 cup more water until the dough comes together and forms into a ball.  It should take 45 seconds or less in the food processor to combine and “knead” all the ingredients.
  3. Knead the dough by hand for an additional minute or two, incorporating a light dusting of additional flour if the dough is tacky and sticks to your hand.
  4. Cut dough into 6 to 8 equal size pieces.  Form each into a ball.  Cover the balls loosely with plastic wrap or a clean towel and let rest for 10-2o minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  6. To form the holes, I prefer to use my fingers to pinch a hole in the center and stretch it slightly larger than the desired size.  Alternatively, use both hands to roll each ball into a snake slightly longer than the width of both hands.  Then tuck the ends together and use the palm of your hand to roll them together.  The website for a homemade bagel recipe I worked from features pictures and youtube videos on bagel rolling techniques.
  7. Let the bagels rest for 20 minutes. While resting, bring a pot of water to a boil.
  8. Lightly oil a baking sheet.
  9. Once the bagels have rested and the water is at a boil, gently drop as many bagels into the pot as will fit without crowding.  Boil each side for about 1 minute.  A flat slotted spatula works well for flipping the bagels and pulling them out of the water.
  10. For plain bagels, place the boiled bagels on the baking sheet, leaving some room around each one.  To top with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or other yums: set the boiled bagel into a shallow bowl filled with topping. Use a fork to pull the bagel out and set on the cookie sheet topping side up.
  11. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes.  Flip the bagels over and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Beware of burned fingers if you’re like me and can’t wait to slice open and devour a hot from the oven bagel.

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Filed under Bakery, Breakfast

Pumpkin Bread

My CSA is over, but I still have a coffee table piled high with squash and root vegetables in my fridge.  Fall in Boston settled in while I was vacationing the past week in Peru.  Inspired by the sudden crisp air and mounds of dried leaves that signal a New England fall, the first curcubita to fall under my knife was my cute little sugar pumpkin.  I turned him into two loaves of bread and am roasting his seeds as I type.

Pumpkin bread is in the same bread family as banana bread and zucchini bread.  The pumpkin adds moisture and a little bit of flavor to a loaf that is endlessly customizable.  I wanted an intensely spiced bread, easy on the sugar, with no nuts this time.  My results were not as spicy as I would have liked, so I upped the amount of cinnamon, cloves, and ginger listed in the recipe (I used tsp cinnamon, 2 tsp ginger, and 1/2 tsp cloves). D thought the bread needed to be sweeter, and one of the recipes I based this upon did use 3 cups for two loaves, but I think it was sweet enough.  Slather it in butter or devour it plain, this bread is always a good snack.

Sugar pumpkins are almost to dear to hack open

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 3 tsp ginger
  • 1 cup nuts (optional)

Directions:

One sugar pumpkin will yield 2-3 cups of puree.  Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp (set aside if saving the seeds). Place cut side down on a baking sheet and cook for 30-50 minutes at 350 degrees until tender.  Scoop out the cooked flesh and puree in a blender or food processor. 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl: flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and all the spices.
  3. Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl.  Add the oil, water, and pumpkin.  Stir to combine.
  4. Pour the bowl of dry ingredients into the wet and stir to combine.
  5. Pour the batter equally into two lightly greased bread pans.
  6. Bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Enjoy warm or cold!

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Filed under Bakery, Sweets

Pizza Dough with Rye and Whole Wheat Flour

Pizza dough is wonderfully simple to make.  For those unfamiliar with the realm of homemade kneaded and yeasted goodness, it is certainly the best introduction.  I still produce inedible bread bricks on occasion, but my pizza dough is always edible, if not amazing.  This recipe is for a jacked version of pizza dough that uses a slightly different combination of flours.  It is still very easy to make and is ready to go after an hour, although the depth of its flavor profile will of course improve with a longer rising time.  We used this to make an awesome veggie pizza featuring pesto and portabella mushrooms, which will be my next post.

Ingredients:

This recipe makes 2 large pizza crusts

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2  1/4 tsp yeast (equal to 1 packet dry yeast)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water

Directions:

  • Mix the dry ingredients together (flours, yeast, salt).
  • Add the olive oil and  warm water (you want it to be hot to the touch, but cool enough to have your finger plunked in it for a while, so think “hot bath temperature”).
  • Mix everything together with a fork or spoon until it is too difficult.  Finish mixing the ingredients with your hand.  If the dough is still sticking to your fingers after incorporating all the dry flour, dust with a little more flour.
  • Knead the dough for 5 minutes.  Let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes and then knead for an additional 5 minutes.  After kneading, the dough should have a satiny smooth texture and stretch rather than tear when you squish it or fold it in on itself.
  • Form the dough into a ball, place back into the large mixing bowl, and lightly oil the top with spray oil, or pour a little oil in the bowl and roll the ball around to coat.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and let rise for at least an hour before use.
  • This dough makes two large pizza crusts.  It is good to go after an hour, but will taste even better with a longer rising time.  Alternatively after kneading, it can be placed in the fridge to rise overnight (or over a day or two), or, either before or after the first rising it can be frozen for later use.  If freezing, coat the dough in oil and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.

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Filed under Bakery, Main Dish

Butternut Squash Knishes

Our CSA share from Parker Farm included a huge – bigger than a six month old baby – butternut squash this past week.  One person who weighed theirs clocked it in at 12 plus pounds.  As our first squash of the season it was too good to keep stored for later.  We baked the entire squash, cut into 6 chunks as it was too large to merely cut in half, with the intent of making additional delicious meals out of the leftovers.  In lieu of a pie or a more traditional offering I decided to try my hands at making knish.

This recipe is adapted from Mostly Foodstuffs potato knish post, which includes some excellent pictures of how to form them.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1 Tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 2 Eggs (1 will be used for an egg wash)
  • 1/2 Cup Canola oil
  • 1/2 Cup Water

Filling:

  • 3 Cups of butternut squash puree (made from baked squashed)
  • Nutmeg
  • Cloves
  • Salt

Directions:

  1. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in food processor.  Beat together 1 egg, oil and water; add to the dry ingredients.  Pulse to combine, scrape down the sides of the food processor if it is not coming together.  Once dough forms into a ball, pulse for 20-30 seconds.
  2. Form the dough into a ball and let rest at room temperature, covered, for at least 1 hour.
  3. While the dough is relaxing, you can prepare the puree, seasoning to taste.
  4. Once dough is ready, preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Roll the dough into a rectangle as thin as possible, roughly 1 foot by 1 1/2 feet.  Don’t stress if there are small holes in the dough as they will be covered when it is rolled up. Distribute the filling in a thick line, 1″ in from the edge, along the long edge of the rectangle.
  5. Pull the 1″ edge of the dough snugly over the filling (the dough should be pliable and readily stretch in your hand).  Lightly seal the seam around the filling with your fingers.  Continue rolling the dough to form a thick rope.
  6. Pinch closed the ends of the rope.  Pinch the rope where you’d like the cut the first knish by lifting the end of the rope up in the air and working your fingers to pinch and squeeze the filling away from this seam.  Twist the dough around a few times until you can feel with your fingers that there is no filling in this twist of dough.  Continue pinching off knishes from the main rope.  If any pinched-off ends open, gently draw the dough over the top and pinch the ends together to re-seal.
  7. Place knishes seam side down on an oiled cookie sheet.  Gently flatten them into hockey pucks leaving at least 1/2″ of space between each knish.
  8. Brush tops with egg wash (1 egg mixed with a tablespoon of water).
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

For serving, we first ate them plain.  My husband suggested smearing the top with honey.  I raided the fridge and topped one with my arugula hazelnut pesto and grated parmesan cheese.

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Filed under Appetizer, Bakery, Breakfast

Beet Cupcakes

I wanted to title this “rich chocolaty moist cupcakes” to ensure no one is turned away from the thought that these cupcakes are made using beets.  I’ve been cooking a lot with beets lately because the last 4 plus weeks of my CSA share have featured them.  For those who would turn their nose up, I’d like to share that of the 15 cupcakes made last night for a small dinner at my house only four remain this morning.

I made up this recipe on my own, using other cupcake recipes and my beet brownie recipe (which already makes a cake-like brownie) as guides.  The result was pure deliciousness sandwiched between frosting and paper wrappers.


Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 3 Tsp Cocoa powder
  • 2 Tsp Baking powder
  • 1 Tsp Baking soda
  • Pinch Salt
  • 3/4 Cup Beet Puree
  • 1 Stick Butter, soft
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Vanilla
  • 4 oz Chocolate Chips
  • 3 Eggs

Frosting:

I used my “good with everything cream cheese frosting” but any slightly sweet, light frosting will compliment the delicate chocolate taste of the cupcakes.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt chocolate chips in a double broiler (or like I did, in a mug in the microwave stirring every 20 or so seconds until done), set aside.
  3. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and set aside.
  4. Cream butter and sugar together.
  5. Add vanilla and cocoa powder, mix well.
  6. Add one egg at a time, stirring until well incorporated.  (If you’re like me and accidentally add all 3 eggs at once, you may need to whip out the electric mixer to ensure everything mixes together).
  7. Add in the melted chocolate and beet puree, mix well.
  8. Add in the remaining dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  9. Fill cupcake wrappers 2/3 full.  Will make 12 cupcakes.
  10. Bake for 18-22 minutes, cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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Filed under Bakery, Sweets

Beet Brownies

With their purple-hued chocolate brown color, these brownies beg to be eaten.  You can feel justified in eating more than one as they have beets in them, so they’re not dessert, more like a side dish…

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 Cup Beet puree
  • 4 Ounces Chocolate chips
  • 3/4 Cup Flour
  • 2 Tsp Baking powder
  • Pinch Salt
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Vanilla extract
  • 7 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/3 Cup Sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 3 Tsp Cocoa powder

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt chocolate over double-broiler.   Set aside.
  3. Mix flour with baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
  4. Cream butter and sugar together in a medium size bowl.  Add vanilla and then eggs, one at a time, until the mixture is creamy.  Add the melted chocolate and beet puree. Add the flour.  Mix everything together well.
  5. Pour batter into a 9×9 lightly greased baking pan.  Bake for 30 minutes.

*Beet Puree- Boil several beets until easily pierced with a fork.  Either peel the beets before boiling or peel the skin off after cooking.  Puree in a food processor until the consistency of baby food. Measure out the 3/4 Cup and eat the rest with a bit of butter or use it to make beet dip or something else.

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Filed under Bakery, Sweets