Happy Dance, Happy Dance!

Tonight I didn’t feel like making a big dinner.  Then my husband remembered that he had a meeting tonight.  (We had both forgotten.)  So, while he rushed out the door, I tried a new recipe.

I’ve been intrigued by Amish cooking lately.  In fact, I’d like to do some research, purchase a good Amish cookbook and go through it from beginning to end, making everything in there.

Tonight I found a recipe called Angel Biscuits and so the boys and I had breakfast for dinner… scrambled eggs, angel biscuits, and milk.  Yup.  That’s all.  The biscuits were very simple… put together like regular biscuits.  But, the difference is that they have baking powder, baking soda and yeast in them and they have to rise.  I had never baked anything with all three before.

The result was the lightest, fluffiest and tastiest biscuits I’ve had in a long time… a texture that is different from baking powder biscuits.  They’re like a hybrid between baking powder biscuits and yeast rolls.

Here’s where I found the recipe for anyone who wants to try it:  Angel Biscuits

Angel BiscuitsThe recipe says to mix and roll the dough out.  When I put the liquid into the flour, the dough was very wet.   So, I put quite a bit of flour on the counter, scooped the wet dough out of the bowl on top of that, put more flour on top and gently worked it until I was able to roll it.  But, instead of rolling, I patted it out to 1/2 inch thickness, cut it with a biscuit cutter and put it closely together on a cookie sheet.   To make these look different from my regular biscuits, I took a fork and poked gently into each one three times.  My husband’s mother used to do that.  Finally, I brushed each one with melted butter before putting it aside to rise.  It actually took about 1 hour for it to rise to double.  Into the oven it went and 8 minutes later I had the lightest, fluffiest biscuits.

It seems to me that these biscuits would be good for the Southern biscuits and sausage gravy kind of breakfast.  The recipe made so many that we ate them for dinner and have enough left over for breakfast tomorrow and probably another meal.

Try these.  I really think you’ll like them.  My husband had one when he came home.  All three of my guys say this recipe is a keeper.

Product Review — BHG Non-Stick Bakeware

NOTE:   This product review was written in January 2012.  It would seem (as of July 2012) that these pans have gone out of production.  I can’t find them anywhere and have never been able to buy the bread pans I wanted to get.  Places that carried them say not available.  At the BHG link (below), when you click on the bakeware tab it won’t load.  So, evidently they are no longer available.

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I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this bakeware.  Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) did a fantastic job when they created this set.

Today I used my glass bread pans for the last time.  I’m always having to fiddle with them… butter and flour them for quick breads or cut parchment paper to line them when I’m making yeast bread.  No more!

I bought BHG cake pans (just like the one in the picture above) from Walmart last December and really enjoyed using them.  My cakes easily came right out when I tipped the pan over.  No sticking, no effort.  I had a pecan layer cake baked, cooled, stacked and iced in no time for my husband’s birthday.

(This cake had finely chopped pecans in the spiced cake and a cream cheese icing covered with pecans.  It was delicious.  And the BHG cake pans make it so easy.)

Well, I put the cake pans away and didn’t think about them anymore because I hadn’t made any cakes since then.  But, I’ve been struggling with my bread pans ever since.

Today when I left a part of a banana bread in the bottom of my glass bread pan, it occured to me to look and see if BHG has bread pans as well.  (I had only seen the cake pans on the Walmart shelf.)

Sure enough, they do have bread pans… and pie pans and more.  Go to this website to see their set of bakeware: http://www.bhglivebetter.com/bakeware/home.

This is the best bakeware I’ve ever used to date.

Here’s a very short video clip on the product.


Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WE87rMAZXvg.

Keeping in mind that it is non-stick, I always do my best to protect it.  Here are some tips:

  1. I never use metal knives, spatulas, or flatware on this bakeware.  There are pie servers, spatulas and even cake knives that are not made of metal that can be used.  Calphalon is a company that makes some great utensils for non-stick cook and bakeware.
  2. I always wash by hand.  The clean up is so incredibly easy that in the time it takes to rinse it and put it in the dishwasher, you could have simply cleaned, dried and put it away in the cupboard.  (Dishwashers are harsh on non-stick products.)
  3. I NEVER use cooking sprays on my non-stick bakeware.  If it’s a good set, like the BHG one, then the cakes will come right out without the use of any butters, oils or sprays.

Do your best to keep it well and it will serve you well.  I highly recommend it.

Update 07-08-2012:

I would seem that Walmart is no longer carrying these products.  I don’t know if Walmart simply discontinued them or if BGH is no longer making them.  Walmart is carrying other BHG products.  I have tried to find them elsewhere, but they are not on even the Better Homes & Gardens site.

Simple Dinner Rolls

I wanted to share one of my dinner roll recipes with you.  We used these for sloppy joes at dinner.  Enjoy.

Simple Dinner Rolls

This recipe makes 24 small, 18 medium, or 12 large rolls.  (Give yourself at least 2½ hours for this process.)

Part 1 Ingredients

1 (1/4-oz.) envelope active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (no warmer than 115°)
1 teaspoon sugar

Stir the part 1 ingredients together in a small bowl or glass measuring cup and let stand for 5 minutes until it starts to foam.  (This is the way to make sure that you have healthy, active yeast and not dead yeast.  You don’t want to go through the whole process and waste ingredients only to find that your yeast is old and didn’t work.)

Part 2 Ingredients

2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups milk (warmed – not hot)
4 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons melted butter (optional)

Put sugar, softened butter and salt in a large bowl and whisk until creamy.  Add the egg, warm milk and yeast, whisking until it is completely blended.  Switch to a wooden spoon and gradually add the flour, mixing until smooth.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic (3 – 5 minutes). It will be sticky for a while.  (Just keep lightly flouring the board during the kneading process until it’s smooth.)  Fold edges under to form a ball and poke with finger into the top of the dough to check elasticity.  If it comes back instead of the hole staying there you have kneaded enough.

Place in a well-greased bowl, turning the dough over to grease the top.  Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and let rise in a warm place (85°) that is free from drafts for about 45 – 60 minutes or until doubled in bulk. (The oven is a good place for this.  Set your oven on warm for a short time and then turn it off again.  Place the covered bowl inside.)

When it has risen to double, punch the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. (This is not the time to add a lot of flour to the dough.  Make sure you are only lightly dusting flour over the surface.)

Divide the dough into 24 pieces for small rolls, 18 pieces for medium rolls, or 12 pieces if you want large rolls.  (You might use the large rolls for things like hamburgers and sandwiches.  When you put them on the cookie sheet, flatten them out slightly and have space between before allowing them to rise.)

Shape each piece into a ball and place it on a prepared cookie sheet.   Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°) that doesn’t have any drafts for about 30 – 45 minutes.  (Don’t use the oven this time as you’ll need to pre-heat it before the rolls are fully ready.)

Note:  When allowing the dough to rise, go away and do something else.  If you’re impatient and don’t allow the rolls to rise well, you’ll have heavier rolls.  They still taste good, but are not light and fluffy.  Also note that homemade bread always has some bulk to it.  You won’t find a tasteless, fluffy texture that can be reduced to a little ball in your hand when you’re making homemade bread.

Turn oven to 400° to preheat about 10 minutes before you’re ready to put the pan of rolls into the oven.

Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until golden.

(Optional step) Brush tops with melted butter.

Serve while they’re warm and enjoy.

Baking Bread

I haven’t made homemade bread for a couple of weeks and so this morning it’s time to bake.

I love homemade bread and, in moderation, it’s not a problem for my weigh loss goal.  It’s fresh from the oven and tasty, costs less than store bought bread, makes the house smell fantastic, I know exactly what ingredients I’m feeding my family, and the entire kneeding process is a great stress reliever.  It’s enjoyable.  But, you have to be patient in order to get a light, beautifully risen loaf.

Believe me, one loaf doesn’t last very long with my guys, but I like making one loaf at a time so that it’s always extremely fresh.  (Homemade breads don’t have the preservatives that are found in store bought so they’re not going to last on the counter for a week.)  A friend of mine suggested making the dough, wrapping it carefully, freezing it in a loaf log, and then taking one of the frozen loaves of dough from the freezer whenever needed and allowing it to rise at room temperature before baking.  She runs a B & B and looks for ways to save time and effort.  I haven’t tried it yet.

There are so many different kinds of bread and one of my goals this year is to experiment with the different flours.  (I grind my own grain with a VitaMix, but do still buy unbleached white flour and white bread flour from the store.)

I’ve got basic bread down and have been making it for years though I’ve made some delicious discoveries lately, so when I have a chance, I’ll write a “tutorial” about how to make basic bread with various hints and tips.  I’m not a professional baker… just a regular, every day wife and mother who wants to feed my family well.  I hope that as I record my experiences and recipes, it will encourage you to try to bake your own bread as well.

Have a fabulous day!