Breads and Muffins

Blueberry Focaccia

I never would have tried this recipe had it not been for one of the partners at Bens firm.  During a recent flight (with an apparent lack of reading material) he saw the recipe in this months Woman’s Day and the recipe found its way to my email inbox.  Thanks, Sam!

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I love blueberries.  I like them cool from the fridge, but there is something about them after they’ve cooked that is spectacular.  They pop in your mouth and release all the warm sweet juices in a completely different way than a raw berry.

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Strawberry Bread

So many strawberries!  I used up the rest of them in this strawberry bread.  I liked this bread.  I made 4 mini loaves with this recipe and baked them for a little less time.  The tops of the loaves got nice and crunchy.  The bread is wonderfully moist.  The strawberry pieces are not too sweet and perfectly tart.

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I usually grease and flour my bread pans, but I tried something different with this bread.  I greased and floured 2 of the pans and greased and sugared the other two.

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Soda Bread: So easy a monkey can do it

What do you do when you need bread for dinner and it’s 6:oo, and your husband doesn’t have his cell phone, so you can’t make him pick up a loaf on his way home?  Make this soda bread!

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I made this last night for dinner, and it was delicious.  A nice crunchy exterior with a soft interior.  I had to make a few changes to the original recipe since my kitchen is pretty far from being well stocked at the moment.  I added some dried thyme to make the bread a bit savory.  If you leave out the thyme, this bread would be great plain with a spread of butter and some honey.  Raisins would make it a nice breakfast bread.

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No-Knead Bread

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I’ve seen more than one blog in the past few weeks with a no-knead bread post.  I read one recipe around 11 AM the other day and thought, “This sounds great!  I will make it tonight!”  but then I saw that it has to rise for 12-18 hours.  Well.  Unless I wanted to eat fresh bread at 2AM, it wasn’t going to happen that day.  So, I got up with Ben at 5:45 the next morning and made bread dough.  I didn’t have any bread flour, so I used a recipe that calls for all purpose flour.  I used this recipe from motherearthnews.com, and substituted 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour for 1/2 cup of the all purpose.  

The dough is so easy is mix up.  4 ingredients in a bowl.  

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Mix.  Cover with plastic wrap and forget about it for half the day.  It doesn’t get much easier than that.  After the 12 hour rise it looked good.

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After a bit of kneading, a sprinkle of cornmeal and an additional hour, it looked unchanged…hmm.  I decided to move ahead with the baking even though possible failure was in my future.

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Ta-da!  It isn’t the prettiest loaf of bread, but it tasted good.  I loved the nice crunchy exterior and even ate just the crusty goodness of one piece with some butter.  Yum.

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No Knead, Dutch Oven Bread

  • 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting. You may use white, whole wheat or a combination of the two.
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • Cornmeal or wheat bran for dusting
  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the flour and salt, stirring until blended. The dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at least 8 hours, preferably 12 to 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
  2. The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it. Sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
  3. Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or to your fingers, gently shape it into a ball. Generously coat a clean dish towel with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal. Put the seam side of the dough down on the towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another towel and let rise for about 1 to 2 hours. When it’s ready, the dough will have doubled in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
  4. At least 20 minutes before the dough is ready, heat oven to 475 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in the oven as it heats. When the dough is ready, carefully remove the pot from the oven and lift off the lid. Slide your hand under the towel and turn the dough over into the pot, seam side up. The dough will lose its shape a bit in the process, but that’s OK. Give the pan a firm shake or two to help distribute the dough evenly, but don’t worry if it’s not perfect; it will straighten out as it bakes.
  5. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake another 15 to 20 minutes, until the loaf is beautifully browned. Remove the bread from the Dutch oven and let it cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before slicing.