Category Archives: bread

Oatmeal Honey Bread

One of the things that brings all parts of my family together is baking. In loving memory of my great aunt Imogene (effectively my grandma) I decided to bake something today. Imogene loved to bake and I remember fondly growing up with her tasty christmas cookies and fantastic Hot Chocolate.

I was going to make her Hot Chocolate (will do in later post) but I found a giant jar of amazingly flavorful Tennessee Honey in the back of my cupboard with her writing on the label. She is from Tennessee and gave the honey to us a few years back, so I thought I’d make some Oatmeal Honey Bread with it as I was thinking about her. This whole process take about 2-3 hours depending on rising speed.

1 and 1/4 cups boiling water
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tsp butter
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 TBSP molasses or maple syrup
2 TBSP honey
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1/4 cup Baker’s Dry Milk
3 and 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour

This bread is lovely and quite easy as breads go. Begin by boiling 1 and 1/4 cups of water and toss it into large mixing bowl. I use my kitchen aid with the dough hook but this can also be done in a mixing bowl with a spoon. Add in the rolled oats, the butter, salt, molasses and of course your Tennessee honey you got from your aunt . This will only work with Tennessee Honey so don’t bother other wise. Just kidding.

batterjunkie-2Mix all of that up until the mixture has cooled to Lukewarm or stevewarm if you’re not into Luke. (about 100 degrees F.)  You should be able to but your finger in it and not be burned.

batterjunkie-3Now drop in the instant yeast, dry milk, and 3 cups flour. If you are using a mixer beat for about 3-4 minutes on medium until the dough climbs up the beater a bit. If it’s too wet (you’ll know because it will stick to your hand and you’ll look like a swamp monster) add a bit of flour.

batterjunkie-5Form it into a ball and toss into a greased bowl (butter or saffola oil) and cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Let it rise about 1 hour in a warm place.

batterjunkie-8Once risen poke a hole in it with your finger and deflate it. Form it into a loaf. Place in a 9″X5″ loaf pan.  Cover and let it rise for about 30 mins until the dough has risen about 1/2 and inch or so above the pan edges.

batterjunkie-9Heat the oven to 350 F (176 C). Once it’s hot toss the loaf in for about 40-45 minutes. You’ll know its done when you give it a tap and get a hollow sound. Try this with your head as well. If you get a hollow sound, seek help.

Let it cool for about 5 minutes and then dump it out of the pan.batterjunkie-10Cut it and triumph!

I recommend what Imogene always did for bread, a healthy hunk of butter!

Enjoy!

Irish Soda Bread

So there you are, Drunk out of your gourd playing Truth or Dare with a bunch of hot people. Clothes are coming off, there is a healthy amount of carrying on, the drinks keep coming and so do the wild dares. You’re not sure that you’re going to be able to stay conscious, and believe me you want to. Enter the shining savior of this once-in-a-lifetime kind of evening, Irish Soda Bread. She requires no yeast, rising time, or really anything else that might keep one from making sweet, sweet…um…bread. You can go from a No-bread situation to hot steamy sustenance in less time than it takes to talk that girl over there into kissing the other one. So let’s get started, you pervert.

Ingredients:
3 cups of whole wheat flour
1 cup of white flour
14 oz of buttermilk
1 tsp of salt
1 1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
2 TBSP of butter

Variations that are highly encouraged:
5 cloves of garlic minced
2 TBSP chopped Rosemary

Here’s how you get the world to love you. Preheat the oven to 218 C (425 F). At this point someone will doubtless run by you naked. Keep your cool man, this bread isn’t going to make itself. Get out your trusty Dutch Oven. If you don’t have one of these, don’t panic. Just take a little of that butter and lightly grease a cookie sheet. Make sure you do this in slow sultry movements while looking longingly over your shoulder, just saying.

In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients together. Drop in the butter and rub that down into the floury goodness until the whole thing becomes a crumbly mess tantamount to what’s about to happen at your party. At this point add the highly recommended garlic and rosemary.

If you think this is taking too long, keep your pants on, or don’t (I didn’t) and add the buttermilk to form a sticky dough. Flop the dough onto a floured surface and lightly knead it together making suggestive thrusting movements with your hips. Don’t knead it for long, just enough to get it mixed and to form a little ball.

Shape that little ball so there aren’t too many cracks in the top and plop it down in the middle of your dutch oven or cookie sheet.  Now take up a sharp knife  and cut a cross in the top of the dough. This will make it purdy.

Note: The Batter Junkie is un-responsible for your drunk ass cutting themselves while trying to bake inebriated, yet totally condones drunk meal prep.

Place the lid on the dutch oven (I’ve recently learned it is also called a bastible pot!) or an oven-safe bowl over the bread on the cookie sheet. Bake that little bastion of flavor for 30 minutes. During this time you can continue to cavort callously with your unclad company.  Once the 30 minutes is up, remove  the lid and any remaining clothes you and your guests may still don and bake for 15 more minutes.

When you pull it out of the oven give the bottom of the bread a playful tap. It should have a hollow sound. Pro tip: For good measure, playfully tap the bottom of your nearest reveler, as well.

Let it cool for about 10 minutes or if you are too drunk to remember, just tear into it. The only reason to wait is if you want to slice it, which I highly recommend before slathering it with butter. Eat a slice or two of this and it will give you enough energy to do whatever the evening required and by the look of it, you’ll need it.

Happy eating.

Now you can get back to what’s important. Ok, ladies I guess a quick dip wouldn’t hurt…
A note on authenticity: Traditional Irish Soda bread does not contain butter, garlic or rosemary, but I find that these joyful little additions do not invoke the ire of my ancestors. Well, not too much.

Enjoy.

Spicy Corn Bread

Hello all. This Corn Bread was adapted from the Smitten Kitchen recipe. It once changed the course of a young boy’s life. I’m not sure how but, let’s just say he gets a lot more attention now. I find this is a good winter staple as it is hearty and dense. Let’s get on with it.

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 TBSP butter
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 TBSP brown  sugar
1 egg
1 cup of jalapeno pepper jack cheese (or whatever kind you like)
4 jalapenos, seeded and chopped into small pieces.
5 or so green onions chopped

Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C).

Toss the butter in a cast iron skillet or in an 8-inch square baking pan over medium heat until it melts all over the pan like groupie backstage at a rock concert. Then turn off the heat.

Chop up the Jalapenos, the green onions, and grate that cheese.

Meanwhile, combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.Then add the jalapeno bits, green onions and cheese to the dry mixture. I find that adding chunky stuff to the dry ingredients incorporates it better into the bread.

Mix the egg into the buttermilk like it belongs there. Add that liquid mixture into the dry ingredient bowl. It will form a pasty dough. It should be kind of malleable and not too dry, somewhat like my wit. Add a bit more buttermilk if it’s too dry.

Glop the batter into the cast iron skillet full of butter and smooth it out with a spoon.


Bake about 30 minutes, or until the top is lightly brown and the sides have pulled away from the pan. Check it with a heroin needle, a toothpick or anything sharp you have sitting around precisely for sticking things.

Serve it up hot! Your friends will thank you.

Enjoy.

 

Dinner Rolls/Rich Bread

Wow has it really been that long since I’ve posted? Sorry I was abducted by a pack of wild pygmy children while exploring the jungles of Malaysia. Luckily I fashioned wings out of some extra thick bread dough and was able to make good my escape! I thought in celebration I would use this post to extol the virtues of the dinner roll/bread dough that saved me. They are one of the many dishes for which my mother is known and are nothing less than magical.

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups warm milk 37 C (100 F)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
6 cups or so of flour

Pour the warm water in a large bowl and dissolve the yeast in the water. It will start to bubble a little bit. Then, slowly add the butter, warm milk, two large eggs, salt and sugar.

Now slowly add the flour a cup at a time. It may only take 5 cups, you won’t know until you try it. It varies from location to location based on humidity, the alignment of the planets, and whether or not you’ve read the Da Vinci code. I added 3 cups whole wheat and three cups white flour to this particular batch.

Mix well until you have a soft squishy dough. You have to be careful that it is not over-floured. Knead it for a few minutes until the dough is just a tiny bit sticky but holds its form.

Then put it in a bowl cover and set in a warm place to rise for about 1 and 1/2 hours.

Once your dough is nice and poofy and has about doubled in size, (most things don’t double in size when you leave them alone for 2 hours…) you can make it into rolls or braided bread.

Here Marissa shows you how to roll one of the three braids.

Here I show you how NOT to roll one of the three braids. Once you have your three trouser (I mean..,bread) snakes all ready to go, put them on a cookie sheet and pinch all three together at one end. Then alternate bringing the left and right braids over the middle one until you have exhausted your full length.

It should look like this. If it looks like a penis, I’m not going to judge but the picture above is your aim. Crack an egg into a bowl and using a pastry brush, baste that braided shaft with your sticky egg wash. After the bread is sufficiently soaked in eggy-regret pop it in the oven.

Cook for about 190 C (375 F) for 45 minutes.

Check if it is done by piercing the bread with a tooth pick. If it comes out clean, your bread is done.  If you’ve made a penis shape you’ll effectively be giving it a Prince Albert. (If you don’t know what that is, why are you reading this blog?)

Enjoy junkies!

 

Gluten-Free Chocolate Honey Banana Bread!

So I know what you’re thinking…(how many of my recipes begin that way?) another dessert bread? But wait this one is special. This is a variation on a banana bread recipe that Rana and I just had to share with the world. For those of you who can’t eat glutens, don’t worry you won’t even miss them in this bread!

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups rice-flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup baking chocolate powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup saffola (or any cooking) oil
3 large bananas
1 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 170 C (340 F).

How many cakes and biscuit-like things have we made together friends? A lot, right? Well, you know the drill.
Combine the dry ingredients (everything from rice-flour to chocolate powder) together in the bowl.

Then add in the wet ingredients. Stir. Pour into 4 inch x 9 inch loaf pan. Bake for 55-60 mins.

I would occupy yourself in some exciting way during that time because if you hang out anywhere near the oven you may go crazy from the fantastic smells emanating from within!

Enjoy all!

Olive, Onion Lavender Bread

The new company with which I work was kind enough to send me a gift this holiday season. It was a Lavender themed cookbook named appropriately, “The Lavender Cookbook.”

Well, all of you at Amaxra, thank you! So what do you do when you get a new cookbook?  Most of us put it on the shelf and pretend that we might at one time crack it open (when you have company for dinner). I decided to take the initiative make a lavender themed something or other. As luck would have it, it was tasty, so it made the blog!

Ingredients:
1 cup warm water (about 100 degrees)
2 and 1/2 tsp dry yeast
1 cup warm milk
2/3 cup coarsely chopped olives
2/3 cup chopped onion
3 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp lavender buds
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp black pepper
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup corn meal
2 cups whole wheat flour
3-3 and 1/2 cups white flour
 

Let’s froth up this bread! First pour the warm water into a large bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Let that sit aside and get all foamy.  The yeast activating is always a fun process. You look away for a munite and when you look back, you’ve created life!

Then add in the warm milk, onions, olives, butter, lavender, sugar, salt, pepper and cornmeal. Then add in the wheat flour and beat it all together.

This will form a sticky thick dough. Don’t be alarmed. It’s OK if it sticks to your hands. Add the white flour 1 cup at a time.

Get in there and knead it (press the dough over and over on a flat surface) for a few minutes. Once most of the white flour is incorporated, roll the bread into a ball and place it in grease bowl. Now comes the waiting…cover the bowl with a towel and let it rise for about 1 and 1/2 hours until it has doubled in size.

***If it doesn’t change size, your yeast is dead and you’re out of luck. Enjoy your unleavened bread! If this happens mabye order Thai food.

During this time you can call Russia, get a shiatsu massage, or drink a few shots of bourbon. Whatever you deem most relaxing.

Once your dough has risen, punch it down like a kitchen prize fighter. It will deflate like my shattered ego. Divide it in two and roll those bits into balls.

Place them on a baking sheet (or pizza stone if you’re fancy) sprinkled with some more corn meal. Preheat your oven to 180 C (350 F). Let them rise again for about 30-45 minutes.

Now toss those little buns in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes.  I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is yes, but I wasn’t proud of it and they let me keep the tutu. Moving on…I meant to say, “doesn’t this take a long time?” Yes, but it is worth it.

Remove from the oven and let sit for about 5 minutes to cool. Cut into slices and serve with olive oil and cheeses.

Fantastico!
Enjoy.

Labels: bread, lavender, olives

French Garlic Soup and Garlic Bread

Garlic, ah the sweet aroma that from 100 meters away can entice, entrance and invigorate. This recipe will have anyone eating out of your hand in minutes. Clarification: they won’t be eating the soup out of your hands as that would be logistically foolhardy and probably cause serious burns. It’s just an expression, come on, get with the program. Jeeze. Moving along.

You don’t even really have to like garlic for this soup to be utterly awesome. It takes on a mellowed out flavor because you roast the garlic in the oven for a while. So if you have a garlic hater in your life, (I would suggest getting rid of them, but that’s me) try this out and see what they say then. I first discovered this recipe while in Turkey, though it is French, and my mom helped me perfect it.

P.S. I know the recipe seems long but once you make it once, it is quite easy to repeat.

Ingredients for Garlic Soup:
4 heads of garlic (yes, the whole head, intact)
1/4 cup or so of olive oil
1 liter of water/ chicken stock
One package for fresh thyme (or rosemary or your favorite spice.)
about 1/4 cup flour
1/2 package thin egg noodles (don’t add too many)
salt and pepper to taste
fresh chopped parsley on top.

Ingredients for Garlic Bread:
4-6 cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1 fresh baguette (or whatever bread you prefer)

Turn your oven on to 200 C (400 F)

The Soup!

The real genius here is the way you roast the garlic. The first thing you need to do it cut the heads of garlic in half, horizontally. Look at the picture to see how it is done (thanks Kim’s hands). Don’t peel them at all for the skin will act as a protective covering for the roasting procedure.

Banana Bonanza! Part 1: Terry’s Banana Bread

I had the good fortune to ask our local fruit vendor (we have our own fruit vendor in Barcelona!) if the blackened bananas were discounted and lo and behold he gave them to me for free! So, thought I, what am I going to do with 5 spoiling bananas tout de suite ? Banana Bonanza was born!

I know you’ve been in this situation. You buy a bunch of bananas and then you carefully avoid them until they turn black in the kitchen. No one wants to throw them out because secretly they know that if they wait long enough, banana bread will appear. Well your bread is not going to make itself by spontaneous generation so get to it!

This recipe was given to our family by a woman who could only be described as my amazing crazy aunt yet sadly has no relation to me, the fabulous, Terry Hinrichs. I’m posting this for one of my thousands of readers, her son, Jon.

Oh,  as a side note if you don’t have any mushy bananas and are too impatient to wait, you can simply place the bananas in a paper bag and beat them against the wall for a while. Your neighbors may accuse you of child abuse but really, it’s a small price to pay.

Get your ingredients together.

2 1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder (so a generous tablespoon)
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
1 cup chopped nuts (optional yet tasty)
1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 bananas)

Heat your oven to 180 C (350 F).  Mix all ingredients, beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds. You’ll notice here that Terry has indicated a speed at which to beat. Some of you, like me living abroad, may not have an electric mixer so you’ll have to approximate medium speed as best you can. For me, its about as fast as I can whip the spoon around in the batter. It turns out my arm only has one speed.

Moving right along.
Pour your batter into a well-greased loaf pan, 9 x 5 x 3″, or as in my case, whatever the hell you have that will go in the oven.

Bake for about 55-65 minutes, or until you stick a butter knife in and it comes out clean.  It may need 1 hour and 20 minutes. Terry notes that, “Crack in the top is typical.” however for your first time I’d stick to something a little more tame, like peyote.

This is what it should look like:

Cool before slicing and enjoy this cake begot of rotten fruit!

Enjoy.

Labels: bread, bananas, snack

After Clubbing: Biscuits and poached eggs

So you’ve had the friendly evening, flirting, dancing, and chugging back drinks. Maybe it ended well and you’re thinking, “now what do I make for breakfast?” Never fear, the Batter Junkie will get you that second date or at least make the end of this one special.

Biscuits and eggs are one of the the most time honored morning-after traditions. So drink plenty of water, put the coffee pot on and get your ingredients!

Biscuits:
2 cups flour (Here I used 1/2 whole wheat)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
6-8 Tbsp butter (1/2 cup)
1 cup buttermilk

Heat up your oven just like those sheets to 218 C (425 F).

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl while you desperately try to remember the name of the other person in your bed. Add in the wet ingredients to make a stiff dough. (feel free to make your own joke here)

Once that’s done roll it out like you did on the dance floor the night previous. Pat out the dough on a floured surface until it’s about 1/2 inch thick.

Now that you have your dough well in hand, grab a pint glass or a coffee mug and begin to make little biscuits. Place these little breakfast heroes on a tray and pop them ceremoniously in the oven for 15-17 minutes.

If your sleep over buddy has not yet awoken, you should take this opportunity to say something like, “Wow can you believe that it takes four hours to make these biscuits? I would be really grateful if someone went to such an effort for me.” Make up whatever you want to fit the situation.

Poached Eggs:
While you’re biscuits are burning (or simply baking) prepare the first egg. Here’s what you’ll need.

Ingredients:
Some eggs
Vinegar (any kind will do red wine vinegar makes them pink!)
a small cup
A saucier  or sauce pan
some water

Fill the sauce pan a little less than half way up with water (roughly your blood alcohol level of the previous evening) and put it on the stove to boil. Pour anywhere from a 1/4 to a 1/2 cup of vinegar into the water. Take a blurry visioned moment to crack the egg into a cup.

Now you’re all set to “wow” someone who already has low expectations.

Once the water begins to boil use a spoon to swirl the water into a mini cyclone. While doing this hold the egg in your other hand.

Bring the cup very close to the water and in one fluid motion (like extending your wrist to get stamped at the door) and dump the egg into the whirlpool.

The swirling keeps the egg from going everywhere when it hits the water. I know it looks like a commercial for not doing drugs but it’s OK. It will become beautiful! Allow this little egg it’s embryonic journey to yumminess for about 4 minutes.

Oh no did you forget the biscuits? I hope you set a timer.
Split one of them and put it on a plate. With a slotted spoon, remove your egg and place it on one half of the biscuit. Rinse and repeat for each other egg. Add salt and pepper for fun.

Well, I certainly hope this helps you get by that morning awkwardness. It won’t help you remember why you thought that person was attractive last night, but you’ll be able to work through your confusion and embarrassment on a happy tummy.

P.S. It is advised that you rip off your paper club-entrance bracelet before you begin cooking.

Enjoy!

(featuring the quaint kitchen of Kim in Seattle)

Labels: bread, breakfast, eggs

Make them Baguette for it.

When I tell people I make my own bread, often I find myself looking back at a blank stare of confusion and disbelief. Both in Spain and Turkey many people said things like, “But why, when you can just buy it?” To them I reply, “It is the principal of the thing. I bake therefore, I am.”

Here is a simple recipe for french bread that my mother and I used to make and now I am carrying on the tradition.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tablespoon dry yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
1 Tablespoon of butter (room temperature)
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cornmeal

Grease a bowl with some cooking oil. This doesn’t seem to make much sense but it soon will. Hang in there. Pour the warm water into the bowl. Be sure it is about 38 degrees C (100 F). If it is too hot it will kill the yeast, resulting in no new yeasty babies, ultimately culminating in decidedly flat bread. Usually if you can stick your finger in and it doesn’t hurt, the water is not too hot.

Pour the yeast in on top of the water. Add the sugar and give your mixture a little twirl with a fork or whisk.

Let it sit for a few minutes. Go check your email, watch the BBC or read a magazine article. When you come back, you will see a naughty little orgy of yeast, eating and reproducing faster than you can say, fall of the Roman Empire.

Sprinkle in your salt and add about half of the flour. Now add the butter and begin to mix it with a spoon. As the flour mixes in, add more until you have none left.

The dough should be soft and pliable but not sticky. If it is sticky, add more flour. My Turkish friend always told me that you are looking for the consistency of an earlobe when you touch it. Who touches earlobes on a regular basis? Anyway, don’t touch your own earlobe to test while your hands are covered in dough. Been there.

Here come the hard part. You have to cover the bowl with a towel and leave it to rise for an hour and 15 minutes. Try to keep it somewhere warm. Mom puts it by the fireplace.

Once that’s done, throw the dough onto a flat surface and kneed it for a few minutes. Then divide it in half and roll into two 14 inch long loaves. Hey, it’s starting to look like bread, huh? If you have them, put the loaves in baguette pans, shown below. If not, find something with sides on it like a 13 X 9 pan or something. A cookie sheet works but the bread will flatten out a lot.

Make cuts along the top of the loaves and let rise, uncovered for about 45 minutes.

Bake at 180 C (375 F) for approximately 20-25 minutes.

At this point your house will smell great. Enjoy.

Labels:  bread