Tag Archives: bread

Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread

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Do you know what it’s like to be hungry? Really hungry?

I’m not talking about when you get home from work and raid the pantry because you’re “starving” and can’t wait for dinner.

Nope. I’m talking about real hunger. I’m talking about going to bed at night without having anything to eat. I’m talking about not knowing where your next meal is coming from or how you are going to provide food to feed your children.

I’m fortunate that I am not in that situation. I’ve never truly been in that situation. But, it is something that tugs at my heart strings… It tugs hard, and it always has. Since having my daughter, though, I find myself thinking about it more and more.

What if I didn’t have food for her? What if she had to go to bed hungry at night?

Poor nutrition causes nearly half of the deaths in children under 5 years old – 3.1 million children every year.

It breaks my heart to think about it… And, it breaks my heart that there are mothers and fathers out there who are living with that reality every day. They are people just like me who have just been dealt a slightly different hand in life.Continue Reading

On Gluten-Free Eating… An Important Distinction (and Miniature Chocolate Banana Loaves)

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Let’s talk about gluten-free eating today, shall we?

It seems that gluten-free is the latest craze and it’s everywhere. There are no shortage of gluten-free foods at the grocery store these days. Some of them are great, but many of them are merely junk food lacking gluten. There are plenty of books and diets that promote a gluten-free lifestyle for health… Many of them are based in actual scientific fact. Sadly, some aren’t.

With all of the gluten-free hype, I’m guessing you know a few people (even dozens, perhaps) who have “gone gluten-free” recently. Unfortunately, I’m guessing that there’s at least one of them that can’t even tell you what gluten is or why they stopped eating it. Herein lies the problem.

If you’re a regular reader, you may know that I recently cut back on gluten.  (I cut back on processed foods, sugar, and dairy, as well… But, that seems to draw much less attention.) In the process, I’ve gotten a lot of questions and plenty of blank stares. There are also a handful of people who think it’s just a joke. (A few late night TV hosts have also tried to make a joke out of it lately.)Continue Reading

Soft Sourdough Rolls

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Red Star Yeast.  As always, all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

When you think of sourdough bread, you most likely think of a crusty, chewy loaf with a distinct sour flavor. It’s perfect for slathering with butter or dipping in a bowl of soup. You can even slice it up and make a sandwich out of it or use it for panini.

All of that is fine and good. I like crusty sourdough bread as much as the next person. But, sometimes I don’t want crusty and chewy. In fact, I find that I tend to reserve crusty and chewy for the cooler months of the year. When summer rolls around, I start to want a softer, lighter bread.

Light and soft rolls are especially nice for grilling season… I find that hamburgers and hot dogs are best with a nice soft roll. After all, there’s a reason the store bought ones are generally soft.

So, when I started working on a new sourdough recipe for Red Star Yeast a few weeks ago, my goal was to find the best of both worlds… I wanted light and soft rolls for the summer that had a bit of a sourdough taste. I’m happy to tell you that these rolls fit the bill.Continue Reading

Savory Gluten-Free Flatbread

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Red Star Yeast.  As always, all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

I’ve recently fallen in love with gluten-free baking. Yup, it’s true!

As someone who has baked (with wheat) for what seems like forever, I was pretty skeptical about gluten-free baking at first. But, when I finally decided to cut back on wheat and gluten, I thought it would be a great time to really branch out and finally embrace gluten-free baking.

I waded through a lot of gluten-free recipes at first, trying to find the perfect mix of flours or the perfect technique. Ultimately, I was trying to find something that was a close to what I considered “regular” baking as I could. Sure, there are some recipes for a flour mix that can be substituted cup for cup for all purpose flour. But, when it comes to bread, I found that it just doesn’t work that way. After all, one of the key things that makes bread what it is (especially yeast breads) is the gluten. Instead, I found that the most important thing to do when learning to bake gluten-free bread is to forget everything you know about baking bread with gluten. In fact, if you’re new to baking, you have a bit of a head start!

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For me, the most important bread to learn to make was a flatbread… I wanted something that I could use for pizza night (which happens every Friday night at my house) that would also be good for dipping in hummus, drizzling with oil and herbs to serve with a salad, or topped with meats or cheese for sandwiches or panini. I consulted a few of my favorite gluten-free blogs and got great advice from a few friends. (If you are looking for some awesome gluten-free recipes, be sure to check out Gluten-Free Girl, Art of Gluten-Free Baking, and Smith Bites. They all have solid recipes).  In the end, I found myself going back to this recipe for Breadsticks from Gluten-Free Girl. Though, I never did actually make breadsticks, it wound up being a great starting point for my flatbreads.

I worked with a variety of flours. Some of my flour blends were as simple as a mix of brown rice flour, millet flour (which happens to be one of my favorites, very mild in flavor and texture), and tapioca starch. Other times, I threw in between 6 and 8 different types of flour, trying to find a good balance. I discovered that I really do not care much for quinoa flour, even in small amounts. I found amaranth flour to be a bit too grassy when used in large quantities. And, while bean flours like garbanzo and fava do have a bit of a beany flavor (for lack of a better word), I found that I rather liked the flavor and texture of the flour for a savory flatbread. In the end, for my go-to flatbread recipe, I ended up settling on a mixture of quite a few flours that I found gave a nice balance to both the flavor and texture of the bread. Of course, you could substitute your favorites, assuming you measure your flours by weight and keep approximately the same amount of starch in the mix. I also ended up using psyllium husks (look in the supplements aisle at the grocery store) instead of xanthan gum to help give the dough structure so that it would rise.

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After baking flatbreads and pizzas over 6 times, I came up with a recipe that I am very happy with it. I ended up using an additional egg and a bit less water. I found that the extra egg gave the flatbreads a nice texture and some extra rise. I’ve made it for my family and also for friends. While it is not exactly like our regular pizza dough, it really is quite good. In fact, both my husband and other friends have commented on the fact that they didn’t even realize it was gluten-free. It’s been a hit on pizza night and will continue to be in the regular rotation at my house. They are also fabulous topped with hummus, roasted beets, and greens (with a healthy drizzle of olive oil), if you’re not in the mood for pizza.

The flatbreads are definitely best enjoyed the day that you bake them… But, that doesn’t mean you have to eat them all at one time. If you do have leftovers, I’d recommend cutting the leftover flatbreads into wedges, brushing them with olive oil, and then sprinkling them with your favorite seasonings.  Toast up the wedges in the oven for a few minutes and use them to dip away!

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I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to share this recipe with you and also to feature it on the Red Star Yeast website. I think you’ll find that whether you are a seasoned baker or you are new to baking entirely, you can bake these flatbreads with great results. I’ve included step-by-step photos to show you what the dough (or, perhaps more accurately, batter) should look like at each stage. Plus, if you want some more tips, or you are looking for some suggestions for substitutions, I’d recommend checking out the Gluten-Free Baking Tips on the Red Star Yeast website. It’s a great starting point!

As always, if you have questions, I’m more than happy to answer them here. You can always connect with me on Twitter (@JenSchall) . Red Star Yeast is also on Twitter (@RedStarYeast), and they are always happy to answer questions, as well! And, of course, we’d both love to hear about your gluten-free baking adventures!

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Savory Gluten-Free Flatbreads
Makes 8 flatbreads or 4 small pizzas
(Loosely adapted from Gluten-Free Girl)

  • 200g Millet Flour
  • 200g Tapioca Starch
    (I also had good success using potato starch, if you prefer that)
  • 150g Garbanzo and Fava Bean Flour
  • 100g Brown Rice Flour
  • 100g Amaranth Flour
  • 3 tablespoons psyllium husks
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) Red Star active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
    (You can also use a seasoned salt or add a bit of garlic powder, as well)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Approximately 2 cups cool water

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Begin by combining the millet flour, tapioca starch, garbanzo and fava flour, brown rice flour, and amaranth flour in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the psyllium husks, yeast, and salt. Using the paddle/beater attachment on the mixer, mix slowly for a minute or two, until the flours are well combined.

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Add the eggs, and continue to beat the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the flours. Add the olive oil and mix again until evenly incorporated. The mixture will be a bit crumbly, and it will resemble wet sand.

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While mixing on a slow speed, gradually add the water, starting with about 1 ½ cups. You want the dough/batter to be somewhere between a thick pancake batter and a cookie dough. It will not form a smooth ball as it would when working with gluten flours. If the mixture is sticky and sticks to the beater when the mixer is stopped (think cookie dough), continue to add a bit more water. You want the batter to gently fall from the beater when the mixer is stopped.

(If you are used to baking with wheat flours, it will seem too wet. Forget what you know and take my word for it.)

Transfer the batter/dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

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The dough will thicken overnight and rise slightly. Leave the bowl covered, and set it out on the counter so that it can come to room temperature for about an hour or so.  It will continue to rise a bit as it warms up, but it will not rise as much as a traditional bread dough will.

When you are ready to shape the dough, line baking sheets with parchment paper (or a silicone mat). If you have a baking stone in your oven, I recommend just baking on parchment paper directly on the stone.

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Measure out about 150g of dough for each flatbread and gently shape it into a ball. For more of an oval pizza, measure out about 300 – 350g of dough. Sprinkle each ball with some gluten-free flour (I used rice flour at this point) and gently use your hands to flatten and shape the flatbreads or pizzas on the parchment paper. The dough might be a bit sticky, but should be easy to work with, especially if you dust your hands with flour. Cover the shaped flatbreads with a damp towel, and let them rise for about 45 – 60 minutes.

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Meanwhile, preheat the oven. For softer flatbreads, preheat to 450F. Bake the flatbreads for 10 – 12 minutes, until golden on top. For pizza, preheat to 500F. Pre-bake the pizza for about 10 minutes. Then, add toppings, and bake for an additional 6-8 minutes, until the toppings are warm and the cheese is bubbly and golden.

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My Kitchen Addiction Disclosure – This post was sponsored by Red Star Yeast.  Though I have been compensated to write this post, all opinions expressed are my own.

Honey Wheat Bagels

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We’ve had an unusual number of chilly, snowy days this winter.  In the last few years, I have often designated snowy days as my baking days in the kitchen. Preheating the oven just seems to take the chill out of the air… And, a few freshly baked treats don’t hurt either.

While I don’t quite have the freedom to spend a whole day baking like I used to, I’ve still managed to get in some snowy day baking this winter… I’ve taken advantage of nap time and worked ahead on my chores to get a few extra hours in the kitchen when snow was in the forecast.

What was I baking? Well, I’m glad you asked… I have been working on this recipe for honey wheat bagels for Red Star Yeast! Surprisingly, I am pretty new to bagel baking. I’ve done my share of baking over the years, but bagels always seemed to slip through the cracks. Early in January, I finally got around to trying out a bagel recipe from The Sophisticated Gourmet that I’ve had bookmarked for years. Kamran’s recipe was fabulous. I made it twice. Once I had a feel for it, I decided to try to mix it up and make my own version using some whole wheat flour and honey.

After a period of trial and error (and trial and error and trial and error…), I’ve come up with a recipe that I’m pretty happy with. Everyone else in my family has been pretty happy with them, too. (Yes, that includes both the toddler and the yellow lab. The are sisters, and they love to share.)

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While I originally attempted the recipe with all whole wheat flour, I’ve found that adding some traditional bread flour back in helped the bagels to have that nice chewy bagel texture that we all love. I also chose to use white whole wheat flour because it has a more delicate flavor that I think pairs beautifully with honey. I not only made them plain, but I’ve added chocolate chip and made a cinnamon raisin version. Each variety turned out well, and they were all gobbled up quickly.

Of course, my favorite way to eat a bagel is with cream cheese and jam. Not one or the other… Both. Seriously… Give it a try sometime.

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Want to give the recipe a try? Great! I’ve got plenty of photos to help you along the way (along with a tutorial at the end on how to add mix-ins like chocolate or raisins).  Of course, if you’re looking for even more help, I’d recommend checking out this Baking Steps Guide from Red Star Yeast… They’ve got great information to get you started so that you’ll be on your way to freshly baked bagels in no time! Of course, you can always connect with Red Star Yeast (@RedStarYeast) or with me (@JenSchall) on Twitter… We’d be happy to answer your questions!

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Honey Wheat Bagels
Makes 8 bagels
(Inspired by The Sophisticated Gourmet)

  • 1 ½ cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons (1 packet) Red Star PLATINUM Yeast
    (Note – Red Star Dry Active Yeast will work, too… It will just rise a bit more slowly.)
  • 1 ¼ cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 ½ – 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • Water (for boiling)
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons additional honey (optional)

In the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together the bread flour, salt, and yeast. In a liquid measuring cup, stir together the warm water (approximately 110°F) and 2 tablespoons of honey.  Add the liquid to the mixing bowl. Fit the mixer with the beater attachment, and beat for 2 – 3 minutes on medium-low, until the mixture is smooth.

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Switch to the dough hook, and gradually add the white whole wheat flour. Add about 1 ½ cups and let the dough knead on the slowest setting for a minute or two. If the dough still seems very sticky (this will depend on the weather and other factors), add an additional ½ cup of white whole wheat flour. Continue to knead the dough until it forms a smooth ball, an additional minute or two.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled in volume and the imprint of two fingers remains when pressed lightly into the dough.

Once the dough has risen, punch it down and transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Cover again with the damp towel and let the dough rest for 10 – 15 minutes.

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While the dough rests, prepare a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper or a silicone liner and set aside. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

After allowing the dough to rest, shape each piece into a smooth ball and then press your thumb down into the center of the ball to shape the dough into a bagel shape. Transfer the bagels to the prepared baking sheet, and cover the bagels again to let them rest for an additional 10 minutes.

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Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add a teaspoon or two of honey to the water (optional). Gently place the bagels into the boiling water, a few at a time. Let the bagels boil for 90 seconds before flipping them over to boil on the other side for an additional 90 seconds. Transfer the bagels back to the prepared baking sheet.

Bake the bagels for 20 minutes. Let the bagels cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Want to add some mix-ins to your bagels? It’s simple! Before dividing the dough into 8 pieces, simply flatten the dough into a rectangle roughly 10 inches by 16 inches. Sprinkle your mix-ins (cinnamon, raisins, dried blueberries, chocolate chips, etc.) on the dough and then roll it up into a long roll. Then, cut the dough into 8 even portions and let it rise before shaping the bagels.

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My Kitchen Addiction Disclosure – This post was sponsored by Red Star Yeast.  Though I have been compensated to write this post, all opinions expressed are my own.