Lesson 53, How to Turn Bread Into Amazing Things


That recipe I gave you for Lesson 52 was originally a pastry dough, as I’ve already said.  Can anyone here think of something else that could be made with the basic recipe?

Ok Janet, you first.  What’s that?  Oh, Eclairs.  Well, no.  Eclairs are made from choux paste.

Ralph?  Doughnuts.  That’s good Ralph, but we already said that in the last lesson.

Katrina.  Cinnamon Rolls, now that’s something I can sink my teeth into.  So let’s go with cinnamon rolls.  First, I have to ask you; what is it you love about cinnamon rolls?  Is it the ooey-gooey texture; is it the cinnamon flavor, is it the pecan, or walnut pieces, the glaze, the pastry itself?  What is the best part of the cinnamon roll?

Cinnamon, glad you want to share.  You say that the best part is the whole thing, and that I forgot the raisins?  I have to agree.  I love all of the separate parts that make up a great cinnamon roll.  But put them together and it all becomes a magical ballet of flavors, dancing Swan Lake across your tongue.  Wait, that’s not a good image.  I don’t want any dancer’s feet on my tongue, thank you very much.  I’d rather have that cinnamon roll tickling my taste buds.  So, let’s make this.

Tools: large mixing bowl (you’ll want lots of these), Wooden spoon, Measuring Cups, Measuring Spoons, Rolling Pin, Sharp Knife, Large Work Surface, Salt Shaker filled with Cinnamon, Small Saute pan, oven.

Ingredients:                                                                                                                                                  1 recipe Potato Bread                                                                                                              1 cup real butter, melted                                                                                                            1 cup brown sugar                                                                                                                    1 cinnamon shaker                                                                                                                    3/4 cup raisins                                                                                                                          1 cup chopped pecans, or walnuts                                                                                          1 cup milk                                                                                                                                  1 cup powdered sugar                                                                                                              1/2 tsp. unflavored gelatine

Place raisins into a small sauce pan with just enough water to cover.  Bring to a gentle boil.  Simmer raisins for 1 minutes.  Drain and remove from the pan.

Liberally sprinkle all purpose flour on your work surface.  Roll the dough until it’s as thick as three, stacked, flour tortillas.  Melt half of the butter and spread all over the dough.  Sprinkle the dough evenly with the brown sugar.  Sprinkle the raisins and nuts evenly over the surface.  Now it gets tricky.  Roll the dough with the filling inside.  Dip the knife in water, and cut the dough sideways into half-inch thick pinwheels.  Place the pinwheels into a greased baking pan and cover with a clean linen towel.  Place in a warm area and let rise for a half hour.  Twenty minutes into the rise, preheat oven to 350′ F.  while the oven is heating, combine the milk, the remaining butter, the gelatine, and the powdered sugar into a sauce pan.  Heat until the milk just starts to simmer, stirring constantly.  Remove from the heat and let it cool.

Remove the cloth from the cinnamon rolls and spoon the glaze all over the top of the cinnamon rolls.  Place into the oven and bake for twenty minutes.  When the aroma of baked cinnamon rolls fills your house, they are probably done.  Check them.  They should be golden brown on top, and firm, yet tender.

Here’s the most difficult part, let them cool enough before eating so that you don’t burn your lips, tongue, or any other part of your mouth.  And I warn you, after making these, you might find that you are more popular than you want to be.  Just sayin’.

May your hot things be hot, your cold things be cold, and your cheddar be served at room temperature.

And remember this quote; “There is no success outside the home that can compensate for failure within.”

G.W.North

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Lesson 52, Man Does Not Live By Bread Alone, But He Might Want To


I have written my thoughts, and appreciation for the potato-doughnut recipe in previous posts on a cooking website known as DiscussCooking.com. Last night, I was in the mood to make some bread. I have several good recipes for white, wheat, and multi-grain breads, all of which give me great results (especially since I now, usually add vital wheat gluten to the flour mixture). But instead of using one of my bread recipes, I decided to use the potato-dounut recipe, with a few tips I learned from paying attention to those who know how to bake bread. For those who don’t know, potato-doughnuts are a yeast-raised doughnut that incorporates mashed potatoes in the pastry dough.  The doughnuts are amazingly tender, and light, and absolutely scrumptious.  I’ve used the dough to make dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, doughnuts, and scones (yeast raised frybread).  Last night, for the first time, I put the dough into loaf pans and made bread.  And what bread it is.

The resulting bread was possible the best I’ve ever made. It is airy, light, moist, with a great yeasty, mildly sweet flavor that works perfectly with savory and sweet, such as gravies, or fruit jams.

Of course when it came out of the oven, DW (that’s dear wife) and I both had a slice of warm bread with butter. It came out so good that with the first bite, my eyes rolled upward with that overwhelming sensation of something rare and wonderful. This morning, I made a piece of thick toast with it, spread on butter, then strawberry freezer jam. No eye rolls this time, as I knew what to expect. Instead, I ate it slowly, to make every bite tickle my senses as long as possible. For me at least, this was the perfect piece of toast.

Now I’m not bragging, as I certainly didn’t creat the recipe. I’ve just used it in ways unique. It was originally a yeast-raised doughnut recipe. I’ve discovered that it is much more. And so, I give it to you. This recipe will make two loaves, with enough leftover to fry up some scones. Or, you can just make three loaves. I wanted three loaves. DW wanted some scones. I made two loaves with dough left over for a scones breakfast.

Here’s the recipe, so you can enjoy this wonderful bread. I’m thinking that you could make really great English Muffins with it as well.

[B]Potato Bread:[/B]

Ingredients:

1 lb potatoes (about 3 medium russets)
2 1/4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 Large eggs
1 tbs. salt
1/2 cup cooking oil
8 cups all-purpose flour

Microwave, or boil potatoes until cooked through. Peel and mash until lump free. While the spuds a cooking, Heat the milk and sugar to a temperature of 110′ F. Stir in the yeast until dissolved. Let sit until a head of froth develops on top. Beat in the eggs, salt, and cooking oil.

Add the mashed potatoes to the milk mixture and stir until all is creamy. Add the flour. Knead for ten minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Place in a 110′ oven, with a pan of boiling water and let rise until doubled is size (about 20 minutes). Punch the dough down and fill buttered bread pans 2/3rds full of dough. Place the remainder of the dough in a zipper-freezer bag and place in your fridge for tomorrow’s scones.

When the dough as again doubled, remove the pans from the oven and heat the oven to 375′ F. Leave the pan of water in the oven. Place the loaf pans in, on the center shelf position, and bake for 30 minutes. When the crust is golden brown, lightly thump the bread with your knuckles. If it sounds somewhat hollow, it’s done. Remove from the oven, and let cool for ten minutes. Remove the bread from the pans and let cool before bagging them.  And there you have it, one of the best breads you’re gonna eat. Enjoy.

May your warm things be warm, your cold things be cold, and your cheddar be served at room temperature.

“No success outside the home can compensate for failure withing the home.”

From the Kitchen’s of G.W. North

G.W.’s Good Grub, Lesson 42– Fruits & Vegetables, Award Winning White Chili


Ok, class quiet down.  Missy, please put your phone away.  No texting in class. Seth, do you have enough gum for everybody?  I didn’t think so.  Besides, you won’t need gum after reading today’s lesson, ’cause it’s a yummy one, and possibly, in my humble opinion, the very best way to cook up a mess of veggies.  Today, we’re talking chili!

Now I know what you’re thinking.  You can pick up a can of chili anywhere.  There are several brands on the supermarket shelves that you only need to open up, put in a pan, and heat.  Then you’re good to go.  But I’m telling you right now, there is no comparison to any chili you get in a can, and a good bowl of red, or white chili.  What you can make at home is so much more flavorful, and full of good, healthy, nutritious, and delicious ingredients, and tastes so amazing that stories have been written about it.  And if they haven’t, they should be.  Jamie, honey, that’s your assignment for this week.  I want a short story written about chili on my desk by next Thursday.

Alright then, let’s get to it.  Chili is a dish that was originally made from beef, and chili peppers, by cowboys driving herds of cattle.  As you can imagine, the chuck wagon didn’t carry as many good things as your local grocery store.  They could carry lightweight items such as herbs, spices, dried chilies, and a bit of water.  They made what could be easily cooked on the trail, in a pot, over a cook fire.  The cast iron dutch oven was the pot of choice. 

So what went into the cowboy chili?  It was a simple dish of cubed beef, chilies, water, and spices.  If the crew was lucky, maybe there was a nearby farm where they could get an onion or two.  Usually, beans weren’t part of the recipe as they took a long time to cook.  Time was not something a drover could spare to spend on meals that required long cooking times.

The chili we see today has evolved by regional likes into a dish that often contains multiple kinds of beans, tomatoes, onions, several kinds of peppers, sometimes rice, sometimes corn, or masa harina (corn flower), and even chocolate.  There are recipes for red, white, and green chili.  There are recipes that will burn from the roof of your mouth, right down to the soles of your feet.  And there are recipes that are so mild, they are almost tasteless. In my class, you will get lots of flavor, with moderate heat.

The chili recipe I give you today, combines flavors that are common to chili, with healthy ingredients that will make take you to your comfortable place.  I developed it for a local chili cook-off, where it won first place in its category.  Unlike most of the white chili recipes that I’ve tasted, it tastes like chili, not like chicken soup with a couple chili peppers thrown in.  Before cooking it, take a look at the ingredients, and try to imagine what they will taste like, before you add them.  Smell the herbs, the spices, each ingredient.   Play the flavors around in your mind.  By doing this, you’ll be teaching yourself an invaluable tool that will help you become the chef you want to be (oh, and “chef” means chief of the kitchen, and in your own house, you are the chef)

 

Remember the rules; gather your ingredients and tools, and make a plan of attack. Make sure your knives are sharp, and your mind is clear.  Are you ready yet.  Then let’s make some trophy winning chili.

G.W’s Trophy Winning White chili

Ingredients:

* 24 oz. (3 cups) Great Northern Beans, cooked

* 24 oz. Pinto Beans, cooked

* ½ cup Salsa Verde (available in most grocery stores)

* 1 large white onion, diced

* ½ cup chopped green onion

* 1 tbs. Sriracha brand Pepper Sauce

* 2 tbs. Coriander,  ground

* 1 tbs. Cumin, ground

* 2 stalks Celery, sliced with leaves

* 1 ½ lb. Ground Beef (80/20 grind)

* 2 tsp. Kosher Salt, or 1 ½ tsp. table salt

* 3 tbs. fresh Cilantro, chopped

* 2, one-inch Serrano Chile Peppers, minced

* ½ tsp. white pepper, ground (or you can use black pepper)

* 2 cups heavy cream (1 pint)

* ½ cup Masa Harina

* 3 tbs. cooking oil

 Heat the oil in a large pan.  Add the diced onion.  Sauté over medium heat while stirring until the onion begins to soften (about 2 minutes).  Add the ground beef and flatten out.  Let cook for about 5 minutes and then break it up.  Stir and cook until the meat has lightly browned.  Add the remaining ingredients, except for the Masa Harina, and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cover and cook for two hours, stirring every twenty minutes or so to prevent the chili from sticking.   Taste the chili and correct the seasoning to your taste (add more salt if needed). 

   Place the Masa Harina into an eight ounce cup along with just enough water to form a thick paste.  Stir with a fork until all the lumps are removed.  Slowly stir in two tbs. more water.  This is called slurry.  Stir the Masa Harina slurry into the chili, and again cover.  Let it all cook over low heat for an additional ten minutes.  Stir and test to see if the chili is thick enough for you.  If so, then you are ready to serve up a bowl- full or two to your family.  But remember, like all great chili, this is even better the next day.  So if you can, cool it in an ice bath and place in the refrigerator for tomorrow’s dinner.  Serve it with some good cornbread, or nachos, and some great, sharp cheddar cheese, grated of course.

Enjoy your chili with family and friends, or if they’re not around, with your best dog.  So until the next lesson, eat well, eat healthy; and remember my favorite quote;

“There is no success outside the home, that can compensate for failure within the home.”

G.W. North