Saturday, February 14, 2015

Momma's Potato Sourdough Starter

Growing up my Momma made the BEST cinnamon rolls and dinner rolls. I can remember her baking in our galley kitchen and every surface was covered in jelly roll pans lined with dozens of cinnamon rolls rising. And oh man, when she would put them into the oven to bake? The smell of cinnamon and sugar was like a calling from heaven. The whole house became warmer and cozier somehow with that smell coming from the kitchen. There is something about home made bread, of any kind that just makes a house feel like a home!

So today, I'm going to share with you my Momma's potato sourdough starter. It can be used for any type of sourdough bread. The two I'll be featuring this month are Cinnamon Rolls and Cheesy Dinner Rolls. But today we'll just cover the basics of the starter.

The starter I am going to show you how to make is super easy and very versatile.

Sourdough Starter
(These are estimations, you may need a little more, or a little less)
1 tsp dry yeast
1 1/3 c sugar
6 Tbs instant potato flakes*
2 c warm water (NOT from the tap. Use filtered water, otherwise you might kill the yeast.)
1/2 tsp salt

*This go around I used dehydrated potato pearls from food storage and because they are pre salted I skipped adding the salt.

Combine all the ingredients in a glass bowl and mix well. Do not use a metal bowl or spatula. It will leave a taste in the starter that is most unpleasant.

Let the starter stand for 1 to 3 days in a warm draft-free place (I used my oven turned off), covered with cling film with a small edge turned back so it can breathe. Remember yeast is a living thing and needs air to breath and grow.

The surface should get bubbly, stir it every once in awhile so that the yeast continues to "eat" all the ingredients and grow.

There are a few options from here for how you can proceed.

Option 1:
If you don't need rolls or the dough the same day you made the starter than you can refrigerate and let the mixture rest, stir and feed it every 5-7 days. As the starter matures over time, a clear to light yellow liquid may form on top, just stir it in.

To Feed Starter do the following:
Add -
2/3 c sugar
3 Tbs potato flakes
1 c warm water
1/4 tsp salt (depending on potato flakes used)

Mix well and let it stand at room temperature for 8-10 hours. It should be very bubbly. Then remove one cup to make bread with and return the rest to the refrigerator.

Option 2:
If you want to use the starter to bake the same day it is possible. You will have to let the yeast grow and become bubbly, stirring occasionally just as before. When you are ready to make your bread pull your starter out and in a large bowl combine the following:

1/3 c sugar
1 Tbs salt
1 c starter
1/3 c corn oil
1 1/2 c warm water
6 c bread flour
1 tsp (heaping) yeast

This will make your dough which you can then either bake as a load, or turn into dinner rolls or cinnamon rolls like I did.

Stay tuned for how to turn this starter into the most amazing cinnamon rolls and cheesy dinner rolls! 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Creamy Parmesan Spread

Hello friends and fellow cooks! Today we are focusing on my all time favorite spread. It is creamy, tangy, and can be used in so many delicious ways! My creamy parmesan spread is great plain, on a sandwich, or as a salad dressing. This is a true dump recipe. I've given measurements below, but they aren't necessary. This is more about taste and texture. So make sure you sample it lots to get it just right!

Creamy Parmesan Spread
Prep time: 10 min

1/2 Cup mayo
1/4 Cup grated parmesan cheese (parmesan reggiano is the best!)
2 tbs greek yogurt*
2 tbs milk
2 cloves garlic, minced finely
1 tsp minced fresh parsley
1/2 tsp lemon juice

This recipe is all about taste. It's got a sharp flavor to it from the Parmesan and the garlic. To get the garlic minced really finely I use a micro plane grater. It works great. I also do the cheese the same way. 

Mix everything together in a bowl. Once mixed taste it to see how the favors are melding. If you feel like it's too thin add a little more yogurt or cheese. I usually end up adding more cheese cause I like it to be chunky and I add more garlic because it's my favorite! 

This is about the consistency of mine. 

My favorite way to enjoy this spread is on a plain baguette. It's so good and highly addicting. You've been warned! 

Happy eating!

Monday, February 2, 2015

English Muffin Bread with Cinnamon Honey Butter

One of my favorite breakfast breads is English Muffin Bread. It's so good toasted and slathered in fresh made Cinnamon Honey Butter. Today I am going to show you how to make both! And then you will never be able to settle for store bought English muffins again!

This English Muffin bread doesn't require a lot of fancy baking skills. You literally dump everything into a bowl, mix it up, let it rise, and then bake it. My type of bread! On more than one occasion I have given this bread to friends and neighbors and they always rave about how good it is.

Start by figuring out how many loaves of bread you want to make. I always end up making a large batch of this bread because I am usually giving some away, but i'll give you the measurements for 2 loaves below.

English Muffin Bread

Makes: 2 loaves
Prep time: 1 hr 15 min
Cook time: 40 minutes, or until golden

2 3/4 C warm water*
1 1/2 package rapid rise yeast
1 Tbsp salt
5 1/2 cups Flour

* Don't use hot water as it will kill the yeast! Remember yeast is alive, we need it to grow so that our bread rises.

Start by taking all of your ingredients and dumping them into your mixing bowl. You can do this by hand, but it is much easier if you have a KitchenAid or some type of mixer and use your dough hook attachment. If you don't have a stand mixer of some type, use a large bowl and a lightly oil'd spoon or lightly oiled hands to help keep the dough from sticking after you start mixing it together.

Mix everything until the ingredients are incorporated, it won't take too much mixing, just make sure all the flour is wet and the yeast is not clumped up together.

Dump out the dough into 2 greased loaf pans. Or you could do several mini loaf pans, or even a muffin tin. Whatever you prefer. I've baked this bread in everything from a cake pan, a muffin tin, and a traditional loaf pan and it always turns out.


Let the bread rise for 1 hour. keep it somewhere out of a breeze or slightly warmer to  help the yeast along. Let your oven preheat to 350 F.

Bake the loaves for about 30 minutes. They should be firm on top and have pulled away from the sides. At this point I pull them out and baste them with a little melted butter so that they are even more golden on top. Cook them for about 10 more minutes once you put the butter on top.

Once done let the bread cool for 10-15 minutes and then turn them out of the pans onto a cooling rack so the sides and bottom don't get soggy.

This bread is amazing if you eat it right away, but it also makes great toast throughout the week. I usually enjoy mine with my husbands homemade cinnamon honey butter.

To make the cinnamon honey butter take 1 stick of butter at room temperature and whisk it in your mixer until it is whipped. It is so important that you use room temperature butter. If you use melted butter the honey doesn't incorporate as good. And if the butter is frozen or refrigerated it will be too hard and break your whisk.

Once the butter is whipped (forming peaks) add honey and ground cinnamon to taste. You could also add a splash of vanilla depending on your preference. Whip all together until incorporated and make sure to taste it plenty along the way to see if you need more of anything. Store in an air tight container in your fridge.

I hope you guys enjoy.

Happy Baking!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Breads and Spreads

This month on the blog I am going to be sharing my favorite breads and spreads. As this is the month of love what better way to show you care than to give someone special a loaf of warm goodness?

A lot of times baking bread can seem like a daunting task for an unexperienced baker. But with a few cardinal rules you will realize that baking your own bread is easy and not nearly as scary as some might think! I learned a lot about baking from my Mom growing up. She baked everything from sourdough cinnamon rolls, to baguettes, to pizza dough, to fancy wedding cakes for friends.

When I got to college I decided I wanted one of my minors to be Culinary Arts and one of my favorite classes I took was Baking. If you are ever looking for a great book, full of every type of bread recipe you could ever want to know I suggest Wayne Gisslen's Professional Baking book. I have the 5th edition, and it is like the bible of baking.

Bread is a really versatile tool in so many ways in the kitchen. You can turn stale bread into bread pudding, eat it plain, with butter, or make it the star of your meal.

Most all breads have the same basic chemical makeup: flour, salt, sugar, yeast, water.

One of the great things about bread is that you can add so many different ingredients to completely transform your dough into something new. From nuts, to fruit, to coca powder and peanut butter. Bread is one of the most versatile foods you can learn to make. There are literally endless possibilities.

Spreads are similar, I like to just dump in what sounds good based on the type of bread I'm eating, or even what time of day I'm eating it! From frosting, to flavored butter, to garlic and cheese, there is a spread for every bread.

I hope you enjoy this months recipes, they are some of my favorite!

Happy Eating!