bread

Cornbread Dressing

Thanksgiving has always been a very favorite holiday of mine. I love to cook the entire meal from start to finish. Back in the day, I used to love to help my Mom, when she would let me. One of the dishes she made was the delectable Cornbread Dressing. I don’t remember her having a recipe nor have we found one. She died in 2001 and since that very year, I’ve tried to find a recipe that would stack up to hers.

I was chatting with a friend on the phone the other day and came to a startling realization – I will never, ever, be able to duplicate my Mom’s Cornbread Dressing. I can come close but it will never be the same as hers. And so, with that being said, I will cease my quest to do just that because I have finally found a recipe that I am happy with and going forward, will make every year. It can be my own new tradition. It is very close to Mama’s, for sure. I might add some poultry seasoning next time. She definitely used that in her recipe and this one doesn’t call for it at all. I didn’t miss it but we’ll experiment next time. And it’ll be my recipe going forward.

Cornbread Dressing
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salads and Sides
Cuisine: Southern
Serves: 18
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter; divided
  • 3 cups self rising white corn meal mix
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 7 large eggs; divided
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 3 cups white breadcrumbs; soft
  • 2 large sweet onion; diced
  • 4 celery stalks; diced
  • ¼ cup fresh sage; finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley; finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned pepper
  • 7 cups chicken broth
Instructions
  1. Place ½ cup butter in a 13 x 9" pan. Heat in oven at 425 degrees for 4 minutes.
  2. Stir together cornmeal and flour; whisk in eggs and buttermilk. Pour hot butter into batter and stir until blended. Pour batter into pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Crumble cornbread into a large bowl. Stir in breadcrumbs and set aside.
  3. Melt remaining ½ cup butter in a skillet over medium heat; add onions and celery, and saute 5 minutes. Stir in safe, parsley, and seasoned pepper. Saute 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir into cornbread mixture.
  4. Whisk together chicken broth and remaining 4 eggs, stir into cornbread mixture. Pour evenly into 1 lightly greased 13x9" pan and 1 lightly greased 8" square pan.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 322 Fat: 16.7g Saturated fat: 8.2g Unsaturated fat: 4.5g Trans fat: 1.5g Carbohydrates: 30.8g Sugar: 28.8g Sodium: 2387mg Fiber: 2g Protein: 13g Cholesterol: 193.2g

More Irish Goodness

There is no better chocolate loaf than the one you are looking at right now. It’s moist, very chocolatey with a Guinness undertone that is barely noticed. The glaze is a but more powerful with the Bailey’s but it all marries quite nicely.

The title indicates it’s a “bread” but it’s really much more than that. It’s really a dessert cake. Soft and spongy in texture, and just sweet enough. Paired with a cup of coffee (or a shot of Bailey’s) and it’s the perfect ending to a delicious meal!

Definitely something you’ll want to bake more often than just around St. Patrick’s Day!

Bon appétit!

Bailey's Dark Chocolate Guinness Bread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 1 loaf
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups All purpose flour
  • ¼ cup Cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon Baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon White pepper
  • ½ cup Semisweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup Walnuts chopped
  • ½ cup Unsalted butter softened
  • ½ cup Brown sugar packed
  • 1 whole Egg
  • 1 Cup Guinness beer
  • 1¼ cup Powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoon Bailey's Irish Cream
  • 2 teaspoon Half-and-half cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×5 pan with baking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and white pepper. Set aside.
  3. Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer + large bowl), beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape the edges of the bowl, then mix in egg. Add beer and mix for 30 seconds, just enough to break apart butter mixture into the beer.
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients, mixing gently in between. When all dry ingredients have been added, mix until just combined, when dry ingredients are no longer visible.
  5. Gently fold in chocolate chips and walnuts, then pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  6. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a tester comes out clean with a few moist crumbs.
  7. Let bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, Baileys, and cream.
  9. If you’d like the frosting to be thinner, add a small splash of baileys until desired consistency is reached. If you’d like the frosting to be thicker, add 1 tbsp powdered sugar at a time until frosting is thick enough.
  10. Once bread has cooled, drizzle Baileys glaze on top of bread.
  11. Bread can be stored in a sealed container and kept on the counter for up to 5 days.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 slice Calories: 405 Fat: 19g Saturated fat: 9g Unsaturated fat: 3g Trans fat: 6g Carbohydrates: 51g Sugar: 34g Sodium: 299mg Fiber: 2g Protein: 8g Cholesterol: 129mg

 

Sourdough English Muffins

A while back we made some sourdough starter whom I named Fred.  It’s time we use Fred, wouldn’t you say?  There are many things you can make with sourdough starter including bread, pancakes, muffins and rolls and probably many other items I just don’t know about yet.  Suffice it to say, after your starter is ready, I doubt you’ll be at a loss as to what to do with it.

And so it was one weekend morning I decided to make some English Muffins with some of my Fred.  I fed him the night before so he was ready for the task at hand.

Below is the recipe and it is the best.  As I always say if it’s made from scratch, it will be well worth the effort and time. These muffins are no exception.  I doubt you’ll buy them at the store ever again!

Bon appétit!

Sourdough English Muffins
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breads
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups warm water (110°F-115°F)
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast or instant yeast
  • 1 cup sourdough starter, fed
  • 7 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ cup nonfat dry milk
  • ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • cornmeal for dusting
Instructions
  1. Combine all of the dough ingredients, except the cornmeal, in a large bowl.
  2. Mix and knead — by hand, electric mixer, or bread machine — to form a smooth dough. The dough should be soft and elastic, but not particularly sticky; add additional flour if necessary.
  3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and set it aside to rise for about 1½ hours, or until it's noticeably puffy. For most pronounced sour flavor, cover the bowl, and immediately place it in the refrigerator (without rising first). Let the dough chill for 24 hours; this will develop its flavor.
  4. Gently deflate the dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, cover it, and let it sit for a few minutes, to relax the gluten. Divide the dough in half. Working with one piece at a time, roll ½" thick, and cut in 3" rounds. Re-roll and cut any remaining scraps. Repeat with the remaining half of dough.
  5. Alternatively, divide the dough into 24 pieces (total). Shape each piece into a round ball, then flatten each ball into a 3" round. For a somewhat more even rise as the muffins cook, flatten each ball slightly larger than 3", and trim edges with a 3" cutter (or trim all around the edge with a pair of scissors). Muffins with cut (rather than flattened) sides will rise more evenly.
  6. Place the rounds, evenly spaced, onto cornmeal sprinkled baking sheets (12 per sheet). Sprinkle them with additional cornmeal, cover with plastic wrap, and let them rise until light and puffy, about 45 to 60 minutes. If the dough has been refrigerated overnight, the rise time will be about 2 hours.
  7. Carefully transfer the rounds (as many as a time that will fit without crowding) right-side up to a large electric griddle preheated to 350°F, or to an ungreased frying pan that has been preheated over medium-low heat.
  8. Cook the muffins for about 10 to 12 minutes on each side, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of a muffin registers 190°F. The edges may feel a bit soft; that's OK.
  9. Remove the muffins from the griddle, and cool on a rack. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature for 4 or 5 days; freeze for longer storage.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 171 Fat: 2.3g Carbohydrates: 32g Sugar: 1g Sodium: 270mg Fiber: 1g Protein: 5g Cholesterol: 6mg

Meet Fred

My sourdough starter. I had named him Stinky but I thought that so disrespectful so I renamed him Fred. Here is Fred in all his glory. Isn’t he lovely?

Fred and I have had a most unusual relationship during the last week. He usually just sits around doing absolutely nothing while I hand feed him every night. Typical, wouldn’t you say? Ah, to be Fred in the Peterson household!

It is that time of the year for me to get Fred going again – all in time for winter baking, I hope.  Making sourdough rolls, bread, even English Muffins is not difficult.  It sounds daunting, I know, but it’s not.  My mother used to make the most heavenly sour dough rolls for family holidays. I try to recreate them and am almost there (look for a future Sour Dough Dinner Roll recipe).

To be sure you have sour dough starter to make your baked goods this winter, follow the instructions below.  I’ll be making some items using the starter throughout the coming months.  Just remember, if you aren’t using your starter, store it in the refrigerator.  Feed once a week with equal parts water and flour and let sit out the night before you use it in a recipe.

Day 1: Make the Initial Starter

4 ounces (3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
4 ounces (1/2 cup) water

Weigh the flour and water, and combine them in the container. Stir vigorously until combined into a smooth batter. It will look like a sticky, thick dough. Scrape down the sides and loosely cover the container with plastic wrap or the lid (left ajar).

Put the container somewhere with a consistent room temperature of 70°F to 75°F (like the top of the refrigerator) and let sit for 24 hours.

Day 2: Feed the Starter

4 ounces (3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
4 ounces (1/2 cup) water

Take down your starter and give it a look. You may see a few small bubbles here and there. This is good! The bubbles mean that wild yeast have started making themselves at home in your starter. They will eat the sugars in the flour and release carbon dioxide (the bubbles) and alcohol. They will also increase the acidity of the mixture, which helps fend off any bad bacteria’s. At this point, the starter should smell fresh, mildly sweet, and yeasty.

If you don’t see any bubbles yet, don’t panic — depending on the conditions in your kitchen, the average room temperature, and other factors, your starter might just be slow to get going.

Weigh the flour and water for today, and combine them in the container. Stir vigorously until combined into a smooth batter. It will look like a sticky, thick dough. Scrape down the sides and loosely cover the container with plastic wrap or the lid (left ajar). Put the container somewhere with a consistent room temperature of 70°F to 75°F (like the top of the refrigerator) and let sit for 24 hours.

Day 3: Feed the Starter

4 ounces (3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
4 ounces (1/2 cup) water

Check your starter. By now, the surface of your starter should look dotted with bubbles and your starter should look visibly larger in volume. If you stir the starter, it will still feel thick and batter-like, but you’ll hear bubbles popping. It should also start smelling a little sour and musty.

Again, if your starter doesn’t look quite like mine in the photo, don’t worry. Give it a few more days. My starter happened to be particularly vigorous!

Weigh the flour and water for today, and combine them in the container. Stir vigorously until combined into a smooth batter. It will look like a sticky, thick dough. Scrape down the sides and loosely cover the container with plastic wrap or the lid (left ajar). Put the container somewhere with a consistent room temperature of 70°F to 75°F (like the top of the refrigerator) and let sit for 24 hours.

Day 4: Feed the Starter

4 ounces (3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
4 ounces (1/2 cup) water

Check your starter. By now, the starter should be looking very bubbly with large and small bubbles, and it will have doubled in volume. If you stir the starter, it will feel looser than yesterday and honeycombed with bubbles. It should also be smelling quite sour and pungent. You can taste a little too! It should taste sour and somewhat vinegary.

When I made my starter here, I didn’t notice much visual change from Day 3 to Day 4, but could tell things had progressed by the looseness of the starter and the sourness of the aroma.

Weigh the flour and water for today, and combine them in the container. Stir vigorously until combined into a smooth batter. It will look like a sticky, thick dough. Scrape down the sides and loosely cover the container with plastic wrap or the lid (left ajar). Put the container somewhere with a consistent room temperature of 70°F to 75°F (like the top of the refrigerator) and let sit for 24 hours.

Day 5: Starter is Ready to Use

Check your starter. It should have doubled in bulk since yesterday. By now, the starter should also be looking very bubbly — even frothy. If you stir the starter, it will feel looser than yesterday and be completely webbed with bubbles. It should also be smelling quite sour and pungent. You can taste a little too! It should taste even more sour and vinegary.

If everything is looking, smelling, and tasting good, you can consider your starter ripe and ready to use! If your starter is lagging behind a bit, continue on with the Day 5 and Beyond instructions.

Day 5 and Beyond: Maintaining Your Starter

4 ounces (3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
4 ounces (1/2 cup) water

Once your starter is ripe (or even if it’s not quite ripe yet), you no longer need to bulk it up. To maintain the starter, discard (or use) about half of the starter and then “feed” it with new flour and water: weigh the flour and water, and combine them in the container with the starter. Stir vigorously until combined into a smooth batter.

If you’re using the starter within the next few days, leave it out on the counter and continue discarding half and “feeding” it daily. If it will be longer before you use your starter, cover it tightly and place it in the fridge. Remember to take it out and feed it at least once a week — I also usually let the starter sit out overnight to give the yeast time to recuperate before putting it back in the fridge.

How to Reduce the Amount of Starter:

Maybe you don’t need all the starter we’ve made here on an ongoing basis. That’s fine! Discard half the starter as usual, but feed it with half the amount of flour and water. Continue until you have whatever amount of starter works for your baking habits.

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