Friday, March 8, 2013

Homemade Bread

I’m anxiously awaiting news of a job I’d really-really like, so in the meantime I’m trying to keep my hands busy and my mind occupied as often as possible.  Additionally, money is REALLY-REALLY tight around my house these days and I couldn’t see the point in spending $3-4 on a loaf of bread when I have all the makings (ingredients and time!) at my disposal.  

And so this brings us to...ANOTHER RECIPE WITH OATMEAL AND SOBA FLOUR!  Sorry folks.  I know it’s getting excessive.  I just always have a LOT of oatmeal around (steel-cut for me and old-fashioned for my beau), and I’ve been working through this jar of soba flour I swear I’ve had 4 years now.  

Oatmeal is good for you, homes!  The main reason is all that fiber.  It helps bind LDL cholesterol in your blood stream (that’s the “bad” cholesterol), removing it from circulation.  LDL cholesterol is the kind that sticks to your blood vessels—the first step in the development of heart disease.  Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans, so integrating more oatmeal into your diet can only help! Plus fiber helps you feel fuller and keeps things moving through your GI tract.  Additionally, oatmeal is a good source of iron and protein, low in sugar and saturated fat.  ...Did I mention it’s cheap, too?

This recipe is a variation of the recipe here—I didn’t have fresh buttermilk, so I substituted 8 TBS. buttermilk powder in one cup of water.  I also didn’t have bread flour or whole wheat flour, which is where the AP flour, vital wheat gluten and soba flour comes in.  Yes, you heard right, vital wheat gluten.  It helps pack 7 GRAMS OF PROTEIN into each 1/2 inch slice of this bread.  

Buttermilk Oatmeal Soba Bread

  • 2 tsp yeast + ⅓ cup warm water
  • 1½ cups rolled oats + 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup water + 8 TBS. buttermilk powder (or 1½ cups buttermilk)
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup cane sugar
  • 2½ cups AP flour + ½ more for dusting
  • 1½ cups soba flour
  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten


1. Proof the yeast and ⅓ cup of warm water. In a separate bowl combine the oats and the boiling water. Let both mixtures sit for about 10 minutes. The yeast will look foamy and creamy.  
2. Mix the buttermilk powder with water and add to oat mixture. Add the oil to the oat mixture as well and mix to combine. The buttermilk powder will probably still be a little lumpy, but that’s ok.
3. Combine all flours and sugar in a large bowl. Add the wet ingredients to dry and mix until dough starts to form.  Once the dough has begun to come together, turn out onto a floured surface. This is a wet dough and may require more flour. Knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. 
4. Turn dough out into a well oiled bowl, turn to coat the dough, and then cover and let rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled.
5. Punch down the dough and cut in half. Take one half, place on a lightly floured surface, and press into a rectangle. Now roll out into a larger rectangle. Fold into thirds, letter-style, then roll up. Pinch the seams closed and place seam side down into your prepped loaf pan. Repeat with other half of the dough.
6. Lightly brush with water and sprinkle a few additional oats onto the dough. Let rise in a warm place for an additional 30-60 minutes.
7. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the crust is browned and the internal temp reaches 190-200 degrees.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Butterscotch trailmix cookies

I miss summer.  I miss, miss, miss it.  Sure, I live in Oakland where it doesn’t snow or ice storm or drop below 40 degrees.

But I want swimming and bare shoulders.  I want warm night breezes and cemetery picnics.  I at least wanna be able to hike without my fingers and toes going numb.

So we have a few options to get us through the next few months before fruit and flowers and sunshine and shorts weather returns.  If you are a disciple of summer like I am, then you will be flying away to Thailand next week to visit your best friend.  The temperature in Bangkok today? 80 degrees.  For the rest of you, these trailmix cookies will help.

Doesn’t this picture *feel* like summer?  I’d like to tell you that these cookies taste like fireworks and frisbees and cold beers on the beach.  But they don’t.  THEY TASTE BETTER.

This recipe is the standard, delicious chocolate chip recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, adapted by Butter Baking blog, but with butterscotch chips and trailmix instead.  They are soft and chewy and sweet and salty and god-damn delicious.  

Butterscotch Trailmix Cookies
adapted from Butter Baking

2 C. + 2 Tbs. AP flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
6 oz. butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled until warm
1 C. packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 C. white sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 C. butterscotch chips
3/4 C. trail mix (whatever type your heart desires! mine had: raisins, cashews, cranberries, almonds, sunflower seeds and pepitas)

Mix together the dry ingredients in a small-ish bowl and set aside.
In a larger bowl, mix sugars and butter together. 
Add egg, egg yolk and vanilla to sugar butter bowl.  Mix all wet ingredients til well combined.
Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
Add chips and trail mix.

Refridgerate dough 30 mins (not much longer or it gets pretty hard) and preheat oven to 325 degrees.  
Scoop out dough and roll in your hands to make balls approximately 1.5-2 inches in diameter.  To give them a “bakery-made” look, you then tear the ball in equal halves, flip the torn sides to the top, and rejoin the pieces at the base.  Leave the jagged side up and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. 

Bake 12-14 minutes, rotating trays half-way. 


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Mango Coconut Muffins

This recipe evolved as many of my recipes do—ingredients in need of a purpose.  I had a bunch of mangoes going bad in the fridge. I’d bought some toasted wheat germ on a whim. And I wanted something breakfasty and healthy.

These muffins fit the bill pretty well.  They’re only 145 calories each, and have 3 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber and only 9 grams of sugar.  They’re also dairy-free and not too sweet.  But between the coconut oil and the coconut flakes? Each of these puppies is clocking in at 7 grams of fat.  Not exactly ideal, but when combined with the protein and fiber in each muffin they make for a quick, filling breakfast. And didn’t you make a resolution to eat breakfast this year? Do yourself a solid by throwing in a piece of fruit and some low-fat yogurt.

Mango Coconut Muffins
makes approx. 20 muffins

1 1/2 C. whole wheat pastry flour (all purpose flour will yield a muffin with slightly less fiber/protein)
3/4 C. coconut flakes
1/2 C. brown sugar, packed
1/2 C. toasted wheat germ
3/4 tsp. salt
2 T. baking powder

2 C. mango puree
3/4 C. almond milk (or soy, or regular—you could probably substitute juice as well)
2 large eggs
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted (another vegetable oil will do, and reduce the saturated fat in the recipe)
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place muffin liners in baking trays or spray trays with cooking oil.
Mix all dry ingredients.  Mix all wet ingredients (note that if your wet ingredients are still cold from the refridgerator, the coconut oil will start to re-solidify, and if your coconut oil is too warm it will start to cook the eggs.  Room temp ingredients are best!).  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined/all dry ingredients are moistened.  Quickly scoop 1/3-1/4 cup servings into muffin trays and bake 15-25 minutes, or until cooked through and slightly browned.