Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Bread Shaping Technique - AMAZING video!

Someone I know shared this video on Facebook, and I scoured the web looking for a source for it other than Facebook that I could link to - like a blog or YouTube ... but I couldn't find it anywhere else. So, hopefully you can see this even if you don't have an account there.

I thought this was pretty fascinating to watch. Check it out!

If you happen to find another source for this video, let me know!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Breakfast for Dinner: A GIANT Pancake in the Rice Cooker

I do it.

I'll bet you do it too.

I'm talking about breakfast for dinner. It's what I make when I don't have the brain power to make anything else. Because breakfast food tends to be pretty easy.

The folks at Krusteaz did a survey and this is what they found out:
  • Nine out of ten (91 percent) Americans say they eat breakfast for dinner, with 56 percent doing so once a month or more often. 
  • For families, the trend is even more prevalent. 67 percent of respondents with children in the household say they have breakfast for dinner once a month or more.
  • A variety of factors contribute to the rising popularity of breakfast for dinner, with the main appeal being ease of preparation versus a traditional dinner meal (43 percent).  
  • For families especially, it's also "a fun way to break up the monotony of weekly dinner night" said 44 percent.
  • When it comes to preparation, mom is most likely to lead the preparation of breakfast-for-dinner (42 percent), followed by dad (19 percent). Another 17 percent say it's a joint effort between parents and kids.
  • Half of all adults (52 percent) choose dinner as their favorite meal of the day. 
  • Most adults (62 percent) eat dinner as a family at least four nights a week, with over one in three (37 percent) saying they do so every night. 
  • Those with children in the household are even more likely to have dinner as a family at least 4 nights a week (72 percent).
September is actually Breakfast for Dinner Month. (Who thinks of these things???) So I decided to celebrate by making a giant pancake.

And when I say giant, I mean ginormous. Like, it's really a cake, sort of. I suggest cutting it into wedges to serve.

I made this in my rice cooker which seems odd, but it actually cooks. The rice cookers with sensors actually pay attention to ... something ... which is how they know your rice is cooked. I think it's the temperature.

In any case, it's that same sensor that tells the rice cooker when your ginormous pancake-monster is done.

If you have a rice cooker that doesn't have a sensor, I guess you're on your own to figure out the timing on the cooking.

Walnut Rice-Cooker Pancake

2 cups Krusteaz pancake mix
1 1/2 cups water
Generous 1/2 cup walnuts
1 tablespoon maple sugar

Combine the pancake mix and water and mix well. It's fine if there are a few lumps, but it should be mixed. Add the walnut and stir to combine.

Pour this into your rice cooker.

Yes, I said rice cooker.

Sprinkle the maple sugar on top.

If your rice cooker has settings, you might need to fiddle around to get the perfect setting for making pancake cakes, but I used the sushi setting. Next time I might try the brown rice setting. We'll see.

In any case, the top of the cake (which will be the bottom when you turn it out) won't brown, so it will look pale even when it's cooked. You might see browning around the edges, though, since it will brown where it makes contact with the rice cooker bowl. To check for doneness, poke a toothpick in, just like with a cake.

Turn it out onto a rack and then put it on a plate for serving.

While you'd normally eat pancakes warm from the stove, I actually liked this better after it was cooled, and I liked it better plain or with a little butter, rather than with syrup.

But I'm weird. So try it warm and try it cooled and see which you prefer.

And, if this is breakfast for dinner, you might want to serve it with some bacon and eggs. Otherwise, it's sort of like cake for dinner. Which, now that I think about it, isn't such a terrible thing.

This is NOT a sponsored post. Krusteaz has sent me products in the past, but this time around, I just wanted to have some fun with the info they sent me.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Cottage Cheese Loaf

On weekends, I sometimes stop at a few garage sales. There are usually two things I look for: interesting kitchen I items I can use for cooking or photos ... and ... cookbooks. Sometimes I find a few gems.

Last weekend, I picked up a tome called The Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Cooking (along with a few other books). No byline - it just says it's by the "Editors of Favorite Recipes Press." With a copyright of 1986, it's not exactly ancient, but it's not modern, either.

I paged through it looking for something interesting to make, and I spotted a recipe for Cottage Cheese Bread. Well, okay. I needed bread, I had cottage cheese, and of course I had yeast and flour and the rest of the ingredients.

One thing I liked about the recipe was that it made just one loaf instead of two or three. I ditched most of the instructions. Hello, I like using my stand mixer for kneading. And it suggested baking in an 8-inch round casserole. I baked it in an 8-inch round cake pan instead.

On odd thing was that this bread included 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. I'd ever added baking soda to a yeast bread, and I almost left it out. Then I thought, eh, what the heck. I used all the other ingredients, so I tossed the soda in, as well. Maybe next time I'll leave the soda out and see if it makes any difference.

Cottage Cheese Bread
Adapted from The Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Cooking
By the Editors of Favorite Recipes Press

1/4 cup water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1 cup small curd cottage cheese
2 1/4 cups (10 1/8 ounces) bread flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer and knead with the dough hook until the mixture is smooth and elastic. There will be bumpy bits from the cottage cheese, but the dough itself should be very smooth, shiny, and elastic. The dough is very loose and wet.

Cover the bowl and set aside to rise for an hour.

After the dough has risen, stir the bread to knock the air out.

Spray an 8-inch cake pan with baking spray. Turn the dough out into the cake pan. It's a wet dough, so it won't hold it's shape very well. Encourage it to spread to a mostly round shape to fit the pan. You don't need to flatten it or shape the top - it will ooze on its own.

Cover the pan (I upended the stand mixer bowl on top of the cake pan, but plastic wrap is fine. Let it rest for another hour.

About 20 minutes before you're ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 degrees.

When the two hours are up, uncover the dough and bake the loaf at 350 degrees until the bread is deep brown and the interior reaches 200 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 35 minutes.

Remove the bread from the pan and let it cool complete on a rack before cutting.
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