Category Archive: Baking

Pie Crust Tips

Berry Pie at 1840 FarmIf you’ve been following this blog for very long, you know how much I love pie.  I was fortunate to grow up with a Grandmother who loved to bake pie.  She loved to serve me and the other members of our family one of her pies.  Now I find myself making homemade pies for my family and our friends.

I don’t have my Grandmother’s recipe.  In fact, I doubt that she had a recipe that was written down on paper.  She cooked and baked by feel, adding a bit of this or a bit of that.  She had been honing her skills for decades, recipes were no longer necessary by the time I was sitting in the kitchen watching her work her magic.

Pie was one of the first dishes that I taught myself to make.  I wanted so badly to master that flaky, delicious crust that my Grandmother had seemed to make so effortlessly.  I tried in vain, turning out pies that had tough, chewy dough where I had hoped that the light, flaky crust would be.

With each pie, my skills improved.  Along the way, I picked up a few tricks that have helped me to make flaky, light pie crusts without fail.  It seemed only fair for me to share a few of those tips with you.  I hope that you’ll find them helpful and that you’ll be enjoying a delicious homemade pie with your family this holiday season.

Pie Crust Tip 01

 

Pie Crust Tip 02

 

Pie Crust Tip 03

 

Pie Crust Tip 04

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    I adore fresh pie.  I love to make it as much as I love to enjoy a slice with my family.  One bite of a freshly baked berry pie and I am magically transformed to a time and place deeply imbedded in my childhood.  I simply can’t eat a slice of berry pie without thinking…
    Tags: pie, crust, recipe, food, farm, baking
  • 56
    I love to make homemade pies from scratch.  It's a family tradition that started with my paternal grandmother.  She was a gifted pie baker and enjoyed making pies in her tiny kitchen.  More importantly, she wanted to share those pies with the people she loved. I was lucky enough to be one of those people. …
    Tags: pie, crust, making, family, recipe, farm, baking

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Pumpkin Cake Roll with Cream Cheese Filling

Pumpkin Cake Roll with Cream Cheese FillingWhen fall arrives at our house, baked goods turn to pumpkin in every form from pumpkin pie to pumpkin bars with dark chocolate chips. This recipe leans more toward the old-fashioned end of the spectrum, but the cream cheese filling elevates it to a family favorite at our house. 

If you’re looking for a Thanksgiving dessert that can be made ahead, this is a beautiful and delicious alternative to pumpkin pie.  I love pie, but a slice of this delicious cake is almost impossible to turn down!

Pumpkin Cake Roll with Cream Cheese Filling

When rolling this cake (or any other), I like to use a powdered sugar dusted tea towel and a rolling pin wrapped in a small piece of parchment paper.  I find that the tea towel helps to retain some of the moisture as the cake cools and also prevents the cooling cake from sticking to itself.  Using a rolling pin in the center helps to prevent the cake from breaking as it is formed into the rolled shape. 

Pumpkin Cake Roll

5 eggs
3/4
cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 1/5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt

Cream Cheese Filling

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 ounces butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and position baking rack in the middle of the oven. Line a sheet pan or jelly roll pan with a Silpat liner or parchment paper.  In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and sea salt. Set aside.

In large bowl, whisk the eggs and both sugars until well combined. Add vanilla extract and pumpkin puree and stir until smooth. Add thePumpkin Cake Roll dry ingredients and fold until just combined.

Pour the smooth batter into the prepared baking sheet. Using an offset spatula, spread the batter until it is evenly distributed in the pan. Transfer the pan to the preheated oven.

Bake the cake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only crumbs attached.  Remove the cake from oven and set on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes.

Sprinkle a clean tea towel with powdered sugar to help prevent sticking. Carefully turn the cake onto the tea towel and allow to cool another ten minutes. Place a rolling pin on top of the cake and gently roll the cake around the pin in the towel. Alow to cool completely.

As the cake cools, prepare the cream cheese filling. With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl. Add vanilla extract and beat until combined. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Set aside until the cake is completely cool.

Carefully unroll the cooled cake and spread the cream cheese filling evenly over the cake. Using the towel, gently roll the cake.  Wrap the roll in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator at least one hour. Slice and serve sprinkled with powdered sugar if desired.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/11/pumpkin-cake-roll-with-cream-cheese-filling/

1840 Farmhouse Brioche

I first made brioche bread about a dozen years ago. I made it out of necessity. I loved the taste and texture of brioche bread, but didn’t have a local bakery that turned out those lovely golden loaves. While Standard Baking Co. in Portland, Maine creates fantastic brioche, driving two hours for bread (no matter how delicious) seemed a bit extreme.

Photo Sep 28, 9 47 42 AMSo, I went to the farmhouse kitchen armed with one of my favorite cookbooks: Baking with Julia. I read the detailed recipe and followed its instructions to the letter. It was a somewhat disarming undertaking giving the precision of the directions. I pressed on, inspired by the promise of creating my own brioche loaves right here in our farmhouse.

Traditional brioche is baked from dough enriched by fresh eggs and butter. Each addition must be perfectly timed before advancing to the next step. If these steps are rushed, the dough will break apart, forming several small clumps that will resist coming back together into one congruous ball of dough. Yet care must be taken not to over mix the dough as too much mixing can ruin the airy texture that makes brioche so wonderful.

Once the eggs have been successfully integrated into the dough, butter must be added in much the same way. It is added a bit at a time, allowing the butter to fully blend with the dough. This process can take thirty minutes or more. All of this kneading puts a heavy toll on a stand mixer. As the dough is kneaded, the mixer must be monitored to ensure that it does not overheat or, worse yet, burn out completely. Kneading this dough for such a long time is a herculean task for a residential kitchen’s mixer.

My first few batches of brioche were made with great success. They were delicious in every way and a big hit with my family. It seemed that I 10336599_733865503347292_2681057661619279851_nhad conquered this dough and learned how to make loaves of delicious brioche bread. I delighted in the knowledge that we would have brioche whenever we wanted without the need for a two hour road trip.

I continued to mix up batches of brioche dough regularly. I heeded the warning within the recipe. I took care to judiciously pace the half hour of mixing, stopping if the mixer seemed to be approaching the point of overheating or causing damage to the motor.

And then, one day as I was finishing a batch of dough, the motor ground to an abrupt halt. It cried uncle and refused to do anything other than emit a high pitched grinding noise when I turned the motor on. My mixer had seen its last batch of brioche dough. I was afraid that I might have also seen mine.

I tried in vain to repair the mixer’s worn gear to no avail. Next, I did what any serious baker would do. I started saving for a new mixer. When the day finally came that Mr. 1840 Farm treated me to the wonderful surprise of a replacement mixer, I couldn’t wait to make a batch of brioche bread.

I was a bit hesitant. I worried that working my beloved dough would put my latest mixer in jeopardy. My fear of a repeat performance led me to wonder if I might be able to simplify the brioche recipe to require less precision from me and less muscle from my mixer’s motor.

Photo Aug 04, 9 19 31 AMI tried several times to simplify the recipe by consolidating steps and simplifying the recipe without sacrificing the flavor and texture of the traditional brioche that I love so much. Most of the loaves were edible, but did not resemble brioche at all. A few of the loaves were painfully dense and decidedly inedible.

While I am fairly confident in my baking abilities, I began to wonder if it was time to give up. Thankfully, I didn’t. Instead, I decided to abandon most of what I knew about the techniques that I had used to create traditional brioche.  I focused on the dough itself. I set out to create a heavily enriched dough that would yield a baked loaf with brioche’s hallmark golden, papery thin crust and rich, airy texture.

Gradually, I made minor changes to the proportions of the ingredients and the method I used to create the dough. Several batches later, the loaves were exactly as I had hoped. The crust was golden and flaky and surrounded an interior that was light and punctuated with the rich flavor of eggs and butter.

My mixer had survived this bread experiment and so had I. Better yet, my family had delicious brioche bread to enjoy that was everything we hoped it would be. To celebrate, I did what any dedicated bread baker would do: I started working on a new recipe.  I’m hoping to develop a brioche recipe that will incorporate our freshly milled whole wheat flour. Don’t worry; I’ll share that recipe with you as soon as I finish testing it!

1840 Farmhouse Brioche
Makes two loaves

I find that adding Grandma Eloise’s Dough Enhancer helps to extend the shelf life of my homemade loaves by several days, but if you don’t have it on hand, you can omit it from the recipe.  The resulting loaf will still be delicious, but the texture will be slightly more dense and the shelf life will be several days shorter.  You can learn more about the dough enhancer on my recipe for our Farmhouse Country Loaf.

12 ounces (1 ¾ cup) warm waterPhoto Aug 03, 9 32 44 PM
21 grams (1 Tablespoon) honey
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon Dough Enhancer
840 grams (7 cups) All-purpose flour
3 large eggs, room temperature
4 ounces (1 stick) butter, grated

If you are using a dough proofer, preheat the proofer following the manufacturer’s instructions as you prepare the dough.   Whisk the warm water and honey in the bowl of a large stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast over the top of the liquid. Allow the yeast to rest as you prepare the remaining ingredients.

In a medium bowl, combine the salt, dough enhancer (if using), and flour. Grate the butter and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth.

Add the eggs to the bowl with the warm water and honey. Whisk until combined. Mount the bowl on the mixer’s base and attach the dough hook. Add the dry ingredients all in one addition before turning the mixer’s motor on low speed.

Photo Aug 03, 10 52 09 PMMix for a few minutes, until the dough begins to take shape. The dough will appear to be slightly dry. With the motor running, begin adding the grated butter a bit at a time, allowing the butter to be incorporated into the dough before adding more. Continue this process until all of the butter has been added.

Stop the mixer and asses the dough. It should be shiny and moist, but not excessively sticky. The ball of dough should be smooth and elastic. If it is too sticky, simply start the mixer and gradually add up to ½ cup of All-purpose flour to the dough. Take care not to add too much flour as it will yield a finished loaf that is too dry.

Transfer the dough to a large buttered bowl to rise in a dough proofer or a warm, draft free location.  Allow the dough to rise until it has nearly doubled in size. Using my dough proofer set at 82 degrees, this takes approximately 45 to 60 minutes.

Once the dough has nearly doubled in size, divide it into two equal sections. Form each section into a loaf and place in a buttered or oiled loaf pan. Be sure to oil the top rim of the loaf pan as this dough has a tendency to rise well above the top of the pan. Oiling the top rim of the pan will make releasing the baked loaf from the pan much easier.10600412_733618986705277_6540797265334883724_n

Transfer the two loaves back to the proofing chamber or warm, draft free location for rising. Allow the loaves to rise until they have reached a height of more than one inch above the top edge of the loaf pans.  Using my dough proofer, this takes about one 60 – 90 minutes.

As the dough nears the end of its rise, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  If you have a pizza stone, this is a great time to put it to use.  I like to use stones when baking bread in order to deliver even heat to the bottom of the loaf as it bakes.  I find that my loaves bake more evenly when I have the stones in the oven during preheating and baking.

Once the loaves have risen sufficiently and the oven has reached the proper temperature, transfer the loaves to the oven.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, turning near the halfway mark to ensure even browning.  When the loaves are fully baked, they will be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.  Remove the baked loaves from their pans to a wire rack. Allow them to cool completely before slicing or storing.

Don’t miss my post about the best way to store fresh bread to learn how you should be storing your fresh loaf of bread.  You can also learn more about My Favorite Bread Baking Tools and Ingredients and share your own with me.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/09/farmhouse-brioche/

Rhubarb and Strawberry Brown Butter Crumble Cake

Strawberry and Rhubarb at 1840 FarmEarlier this week, the June issue of From Scratch Magazine was published.  The issue is filled with great seasonal content including three of my favorite strawberry recipes. In its pages, you’ll find my recipe for Strawberry Jam, Oat Scones with Fresh Strawberries, and Rhubarb and Strawberry Brown Butter Crumble Cake.  We have been enjoying the crumble cake all spring as our rhubarb is harvested fresh from the garden.  You’ll find the recipe for the crumble below so that you can bake it for your friends and family.

The other two recipes in my article are equally delicious.  I was inspired to add fresh strawberries to my family’s favorite scone recipe after reading Honey & Oats: Everyday Favorites Baked with Whole Grains and Natural Sweeteners by Jennifer Katzinger. The results were fantastic. In fact, these scones were such a hit that they have become our favorite scone recipe.  I can’t wait to try a few of the delicious looking recipes from this cookbook.June Giveaway at 1840 Farm

When making my family’s favorite Rhubarb and Strawberry Brown Butter Crumble, I used my favorite brand of cinnamon, Flavor of the Earth Ceylon Cinnamon.  Unlike most of the cinnamon I find in the grocery store, this cinnamon powder is freshly ground from 100% real cinnamon bark. Flavor the Earth Ceylon Cinnamon has an amazing flavor and is a great source of Manganese, Fiber, Calcium and Iron.

I don’t want you to simply take my word for it that this cookbook and cinnamon are fantastic.  Thanks to the book’s publisher, Sasquatch Books, you can win a copy of this beautiful cookbook and find inspiration to add whole grains and natural sweeteners to your family’s favorite recipes.  Flavor of the Earth has also generously added a one pound bag of their Ceylon Cinnamon Powder to our giveaway.  I wanted to join in the fun, so I added one of our 1840 Farm Vanilla Extract Kits.  The winner of this giveaway will be ready to bake something amazing using this prize package!

One lucky reader be randomly selected to win:

You can enter by leaving a comment on this post sharing what you love to make using cinnamon and by liking a trio of Facebook pages.  Don’t worry, if you already follow 1840 Farm on Facebook, you can simply confirm that status with a click of the button below and claim your entries.  The contest closes on Thursday, June 12, 2014.  Good luck to all who enter!

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Rhubarb and Strawberry Brown Butter Crumble CakeRhubarb Strawberry Brown Butter Crumble Cake at 1840 Farm
makes 6-8 servings

This cake is the perfect way to enjoy the amazing flavor of fresh rhubarb and strawberries all year long. Long after the season has ended, I can prepare delicious recipes that highlight the delicious flavor of rhubarb and strawberries.

Rhubarb freezes incredibly well, so I stock the freezer with plenty of rhubarb to last all winter long in our favorite baking recipes. Each year, I harvest ripe stalks of rhubarb before washing and slicing into ½ inch pieces. I place them in a single layer on a small sheet pan in the freezer and leave them to freeze overnight. Once they are frozen solid, I transfer them to a freezer bag for long term storage.

While rhubarb freezes well, I prefer to utilize our homemade strawberry jam rather than freeze the strawberries. By using jam, I can control the amount of liquid in the recipe and create a fruit filling that has a beautiful appearance and consistency. When combined with the rhubarb, brown butter, and oats, the results are delicious.

1 ½ cups (6 ounces) rhubarb, cut into ½ inch slices
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 Tablespoons (1 ounce) butter
¼ cup (48 grams) granulated sugar
¼ cup (48 grams) brown sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ cup (2 ounces) strawberry jam
1 ½ cups (180 grams) All-purpose flour
1 cup (80 grams) old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup (120 grams) brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
12 Tablespoons (6 ounces) butter, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly butter an 8 inch springform pan.  Set aside.

Wash and trim the rhubarb stalks. Slice each stalk into ½ inch pieces and place them in a medium bowl. Add the cornstarch and toss gently to coat the rhubarb.

Make the brown butter. In a small skillet, melt the 2 Tablespoons of butter over medium heat. After the butter melts, you will notice that the milk solids will begin to separate.  Continue to cook, stirring occasionally to allow those solids to brown slightly.  You will notice a slight change in color and aroma.  Brown butter has a slightly nutty aroma which will signal that the solids have caramelized and that the brown butter has finished cooking. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and strawberry jam to the warm skillet. Stir gently to fully combine the ingredients before adding them to the bowl with the rhubarb. Stir to coat the rhubarb with the brown butter mixture. Set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Pulse to combine. With the machine running, add the butter gradually. Add the vanilla extract and process until the mixture comes together and forms large clumps.

Transfer two thirds of the crumble mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Press the mixture lightly to form a crust that completely covers the bottom the pan.  Stir the rhubarb strawberry mixture and pour over the crust, spreading to cover evenly.  Sprinkle the remaining crumble mixture evenly on top of the fruit filling.

Transfer the pan to the oven and bake the crumble in the preheated oven for 30 – 35 minutes until the topping has browned lightly and the fruit filling has thickened.  Remove from the oven to cool. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream.


June 2014 From Scratch MagazineThis recipe appeared in the June 2014 issue of From Scratch Magazine.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/06/rhubarb-and-strawberry-brown-butter-crumble-cake/

Strawberry Puff Pancake Recipe

I have many fond memories of this dish from my childhood.  My mother made this recipe for countless holiday morning breakfasts.  It was always topped with fresh strawberries, sour cream, and a sprinkling of brown sugar.  It was always called Strawberry Puff Pancake.

The name made sense given that the dish was topped with strawberries and the batter puffed dramatically while it baked in the oven.  It seemed magical to me that you could pour a thin batter into the pie plate, slide it in the oven and watch as it transformed into an airy, delicate concoction.

For a chicken keeper, this is a delicious celebration of the fresh eggs that we collect from our heritage breed hens.  The resulting pancake is full of the fresh, rich flavor of fresh eggs.  The flavor is paired with the beautiful golden color of the yolks provided by hens that enjoy sunshine, fresh air, and plenty of fresh green grass and treats.

I know now that this dish bears a remarkable resemblance to the German Dutch Baby or Dutch Pancake.  No matter its name, the recipe is similar to a popover and yields a light, eggy, custard-like pancake that is delicious when topped with fresh fruit. While the combination of sour cream and brown sugar with the fresh strawberries may seem curious at first, I promise that it won’t disappoint.  We have tried topping this pancake with whipped cream and syrup, but this is our favorite trio of toppings.

This is a family favorite here at 1840 Farm and sure to become one around your family table.  I hope that you’ll enjoy it just as much as we do!

Strawberry Puff Pancake (German Dutch Baby)
serves 4-6 as a main course topped with fresh fruit

3 Tablespoons (1 ½ ounces) butter
3 large eggs
1 ½ cups (12 ounces) whole milk
6 Tablespoons (72 grams) granulated sugar
¾ cup (90 grams) All-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place the butter in a glass pie pan, 9 inch cast iron skillet, or similarly sized casserole dish and transfer to the warm oven as you prepare the batter.  I like to place the baking dish or skillet on top of a cookie sheet to catch any excess batter that might overflow the pan as it bakes.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs using a whisk until they are light and frothy.  Add the milk and whisk until well combined.  Add the sugar, flour, and salt and whisk until the mixture is completely smooth.

Remove the warm baking dish from the oven.  Pour the batter into the pan and return it to the oven.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the edges are puffed and lightly brown.  When the pancake is fully baked, a sharp knife inserted into the middle of the pan will come out clean.

Remove the pancake from the oven and serve topped with a sprinkling of brown sugar, fresh sliced strawberries, and a dollop of sour cream.  Enjoy!

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    Valentine's Day usually comes and goes in a flash.  This year, it falls on the Friday before a three-day weekend here at 1840 Farm.  That seems like the perfect excuse to dust off all of our favorite Valentine's Day recipes and enjoy each and every one of them before the weekend is through.
    Tags: farm, enjoy, recipe, strawberry, food, baking

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/04/strawberry-puff-pancake-recipe/

Valentine’s Day Favorites at 1840 Farm

Valentine’s Day usually comes and goes in a flash.  This year, it falls on the Friday before a three-day weekend here at 1840 Farm.  That seems like the perfect excuse to dust off all of our favorite Valentine’s Day recipes and enjoy each and every one of them before the weekend is through.

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Cast Iron Skillet Cinnamon Rolls with Bourbon Caramel Sauce

A few months ago, I was given the opportunity to review the new cookbook, Put An Egg On It by Lara Ferroni.  It was filled with fantastic recipes featuring one of my favorite foods:  eggs.  I loved it so much that I was thrilled to be presented with the chance to review a second cookbook from the Sasquatch Books catalog.  I was even more excited when I learned that it was a cookbook that focused on the use of one of my favorite tools in the kitchen:  a cast iron pan.

The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook by Sharon Kramis and Julie Kramis Hearne contains over 90 recipes that all utilize a cast iron skillet.  These recipes represent the full range of dishes from breakfast fare to hearty dishes to serve at your family’s dinner table.  This beautiful book also includes helpful information to guide readers through the process of selecting a cast iron skillet, seasoning its surface, and caring for it properly.

The recipe featured on the cover caught my attention right away.  The pecan sticky buns looked amazing in the pan and on the plate.  I couldn’t wait to open the cover and read the recipe.  After I had read that recipe, I continued on through the entrees, vegetables and sides, and delectable looking desserts.

All of the recipes looked delicious, but I was drawn to the idea of making my family’s favorite cinnamon rolls in our own cast iron skillet before diving in and trying a new recipe.  I wondered if using my favorite pan would make any difference in the cinnamon rolls I was planning to serve for dinner.

After the first bite, my family proclaimed that these were the most delicious cinnamon rolls that I had ever made.  As dinner went on, so did their happy comments.  By the time the last bite had been enjoyed, they were all inquiring about when I would be making these Cast Iron Skillet Cinnamon Rolls with Bourbon Caramel Sauce again.

I promised that I would make this recipe again soon.  I want to share the recipe with you first so that you can make them yourself.  These cinnamon rolls are delicious and sure to delight your friends and family.

The giveaway that accompanies the recipe is also sure to make one lucky reader’s day!  When Sasquatch Books offered to send a copy of The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook to one of our readers, I decided to invite a few of my favorite products to join in the fun.  I can’t wait to share them with you.

The Mind to Homestead added a handmade crocheted cast iron skillet handle cozy made from a pattern that they offer in their Etsy shopCoffee on the Porch contributed a generous three pounds of their delicious, small batch roasted coffeeGrandparentsPlus2 contributed a handmade, quilted mug rug perfect for resting your coffee cup on.   The winner will also receive an 1840 Farm fabric coiled 8 inch trivet from The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy that we made to coordinate with the skillet handle cozy.

I hope that you’ll enjoy making these cinnamon rolls and that you’ll take a moment to enter to win our fabulous prize package.  The giveaway is open to residents of the United States.  Entries will be accepted until midnight on Tuesday, January 28th.  One winner will be randomly selected using Random.org and notified via Email.  Good luck to all who enter!

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Cast Iron Skillet Cinnamon Rolls with Bourbon Caramel Sauce
serves 4-6

I like to use our WonderMill to mill our own organic, non-GMO flour for this recipe, but there’s no need to pass up making these rolls if you don’t have the ability to mill your own flour. You can substitute high quality whole wheat flour or All-purpose flour. 

I find that adding Grandma Eloise’s Dough Enhancer helps to create lighter dough and improve the overall texture of the rolls.  If you don’t have it on hand, you can simply omit it from the recipe.  The resulting recipe will still be absolutely delicious. You can learn more about the dough enhancer in my recipe for our Farmhouse Country Loaf.

Dough
¼ cup (2 ounces) warm water
1 Tablespoon (20 grams) molasses
1 package (2 ½ teaspoons) active dry yeast
¼ cup (2 ounces) warm milk
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups (240 grams) All-purpose flour
1 cup (120 grams) whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Grandma Eloise’s Dough Enhancer
4 Tablespoons (2 ounces) butter, cut into small cubes

Bourbon Caramel Sauce
½ cup (96 grams) brown sugar
4 Tablespoons (2 ounces) butter
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
1 Tablespoon bourbon

Filling
4 Tablespoons (2 ounces) butter, softened
¼ cup (48 grams) granulated sugar
¼ cup (48 grams) brown sugar
2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon

If you are using a dough proofer, preheat the proofer following the manufacturer’s instructions as you prepare the dough.  If you don’t have a proofer, you can provide the dough with a warm, draft free location to rise.  Additional time may be necessary for the dough to rise sufficiently, but the cinnamon rolls will taste equally delicious.

In a large bowl, combine the warm water and molasses, stirring to dissolve the molasses.  Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture and set aside to bloom as you measure the dry ingredients, approximately five minutes.

Measure and combine the flour, dough enhancer, and salt in a bowl.  Use a whisk to mix the dry ingredients and evenly distribute the salt throughout the flour.

When the five minutes have elapsed, whisk the liquid ingredients and then add the warm milk, eggs, and vanilla.  Whisk until the eggs are incorporated and the mixture is smooth.

Add the dry ingredients in one addition to the yeast mixture.  Use a dough hook on a stand mixer or a wooden spoon, mix until a shaggy dough forms.  If you are using a stand mixer, continue to mix the dough on the lowest setting for 5 minutes or until a smooth, elastic dough forms before beginning to add the butter slowly.  Add the butter a piece at a time, allowing the mixer to work the dough between each addition.  Continue to mix until all of the butter is incorporated into the dough.

Transfer the dough to a large bowl that has been brushed with butter or oil.  Place the dough in the warm proofer or a draft free spot to rest and rise for approximately 60 minutes.  Remove the dough from the bowl and knead lightly before returning the dough to the bowl to rise for another 60 minutes or until doubled in size.

As the dough is rising for a second time, prepare the bourbon caramel sauce.  Add the brown sugar, butter, honey, maple syrup, and bourbon to an 8 inch or 10 inch cast iron skillet.  Place the skillet over medium high heat.  Bring the mixture to a boil without stirring.  Reduce the heat to medium and continue to simmer until the mixture thickens slightly, approximately five minutes.  Remove the skillet from the heat and allow the caramel to cool to room temperature.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon for the filling.  Ideally, the butter should be soft enough to spread across the dough easily without stretching the dough.  If it needs a bit of encouragement, a fork can be used to mash it onto a plate before rolling out the dough.

When the dough has risen sufficiently, transfer it to a floured surface.  Lightly flour the surface of the dough before using a rolling pin to roll it into a rectangle approximately 18 by 12 inches in size.

Using a pastry brush or your hands, brush away any excess flour from the surface of the dough.  Spread the softened butter evenly over the dough before sprinkling the cinnamon sugar mixture on top of the butter.  Begin rolling the dough from one long side of the rectangle to the other, forming a tight tube and brushing away excess flour as you roll.

Using a sharp knife, cut the rolled dough into rolls approximately 1 ½ inches in width.  Gently transfer the individual rolls to the cast iron skillet, placing each one cut side down on top of the bourbon caramel sauce.  Continue until all of the rolls are evenly spaced within the skillet.

Place the skillet in preheated bread proofer or a warm, draft free location to rise for another 30-60 minutes or until the rolls have expanded to fill the pan.  As the rolls rise, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven.  Bake the rolls for 20-30 minutes, until lightly browned and slightly firm.  Remove the skillet from the oven and allow to cool for at least five minutes.  Using oven mitts and a healthy dose of caution, carefully cover the skillet with a larger plate or pan and turn the skillet to release the cinnamon rolls.

Remove the cast iron skillet, scraping any caramel from the pan.  The bourbon caramel sauce will now be on the top surface of the rolls.  Serve the rolls while still warm and enjoy every last bite!

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/01/cast-iron-skillet-cinnamon-rolls-with-bourbon-caramel-sauce/

Our Favorite Holiday Cookie Recipes

Every year, cookies grace our family table on Christmas Eve.  The tradition started out simply enough.  My children would ask to help me make the cookies that would be left for Santa when they went to bed that evening.  Now that they are older and a little wiser, the fun of making the cookies has become an integral part of the holiday festivities.

We spend time in our farmhouse kitchen making my Grandmother’s Chocolate Crinkles, our Candy Cane Meringues, and the other delicious favorites that have come to be tied to our holiday celebration.  With each bite, we’re reminded of the memory of holidays past.  With each moment spent together in the kitchen, we’re making new memories that I hope will last a lifetime.

In case you are looking for a few good cookie recipes to add to your holiday baking collection, you’ll find links to the recipes for our favorites below.  It warms my heart to think that you might use one of our favorite recipes to make a memory with your friends and family this year.  Enjoy!

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/12/our-favorite-holiday-cookie-recipes/

The 1840 Farm Daily Loaf

This loaf is the daily, go to homemade bread here at 1840 Farm.  We begin almost every morning with slices of this delicious bread lightly toasted, buttered, and topped with our favorite homemade preserves or local honey.  For dinner, a thick slice of this loaf makes the perfect base for savory open faced sandwiches.  When topped with our savory Heirloom Smoky Tomato or Caramelized Onion and Red Wine Jam, a bit of melted cheese, and a sunny side up egg gathered fresh from our coop, it’s a dinner that the whole family is happy to see served at our farmhouse table.

This bread dough is simple to prepare, making it a lovely introduction to bread baking for a beginning bread baker.  The dough is sturdy and elastic, responding very well to kneading by hand or with a dough hook on a stand mixer. Whether you are a novice or accomplished bread baker, I hope that you will give this loaf a try and share it with your family.


These are the tools and ingredients that I use to create this loaf in our kitchen.  Clicking on the links will take you to exterior sites in order for you to learn more about each product. Some of these links are of the affiliate variety. Those links have not influenced my honest opinion or recommendation of these products.

 



1840 Farm Daily Loaf
makes 2 loaves

I like to mill our own organic, non-GMO flour to use in this recipe.  There’s no need to pass up trying this recipe if you don’t have the ability to mill your own flour. You can substitute high quality whole wheat flour and All-purpose flour.  I like to include Simply Omega-3 ground flaxseed in this loaf to add a boost of nutrition and a slightly nutty, earthy flavor to the finished loaf.  You could substitute ground flax or wheat germ if you prefer or omit it from the recipe.

I find that adding Grandma Eloise’s Dough Enhancer helps to extend the shelf life of my homemade loaves by several days, but if you don’t have it on hand, you can omit it from the recipe.  The resulting loaf will still be delicious, but the texture will be slightly more dense and the shelf life will be several days shorter.  You can learn more about the dough enhancer on my recipe for our Farmhouse Country Loaf.

2 cups (16 ounces) warm water
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
3/4 cup (6 ounces) plain or vanilla yogurt
3 1/2 cups (420 grams) whole wheat flour
3 1/2 cups (420 grams) All-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon Grandma Eloise Dough Enhancer
1 Tablespoon vital wheat gluten
1 Tablespoon Simply Omega-3 flax seed
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
Melted butter for brushing the finished loaves if desired

If you are using a dough proofer, preheat the proofer following the manufacturer’s instructions as you prepare the dough.

In a large bowl, combine the warm water and honey, stirring to dissolve the honey.  Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture and set aside to bloom as you measure the dry ingredients, approximately five minutes.

Measure and combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Use a whisk to mix the dry ingredients and evenly distribute them throughout the flour.  When the five minutes have elapsed, stir the liquid ingredients and then add the yogurt.  Mix until the yogurt is incorporated and the mixture is smooth.

Add the dry ingredients in one addition to the yeast mixture.  Using a dough hook on a stand mixer or a wooden spoon, mix until a shaggy dough forms.  If you are using a stand mixer, continue to mix the dough on the lowest setting for 5-10 minutes or until a smooth, elastic dough forms before turning it out onto a floured surface and kneading by hand until it passes the windowpane test.

If you are mixing the dough by hand, turn the shaggy dough out onto a floured surface or dough mat.  Knead the dough, adding more flour as necessary, until it passes the windowpane test, approximately ten minutes.

If you are unfamiliar with the windowpane test, the technique is quite simple but incredibly helpful when making a loaf of bread.  This windowpane test will help you to determine if your dough has been kneaded sufficiently to yield a wonderful finished loaf.  By using this technique, you will be certain that your homemade bread dough will produce a beautiful loaf of bread.

Conducting the windowpane test is simple.  After you have kneaded the dough to the point when you think that it is ready to be shaped into loaves, take a small ball of dough and stretch it between your fingers until it is thin and translucent (much like a window).  If the dough stretches without breaking, it has been kneaded long enough to develop the gluten and is ready to prepare for its rise.  If the dough breaks, continue kneading until it passes the test.

Once your dough passes the windowpane test, form the dough into a ball and allow it to rest on the counter for 5 to 10 minutes.  After the dough has rested, divide the dough into two even balls.  Shape each ball into a loaf and place in a lightly oiled loaf pan.

Using a sharp knife, make several slits in the surface of the loaf.  Scoring the loaf will allow the dough to rise and bake evenly without breaking the beautiful top crust.  Set the loaves aside to rise in a proofing chamber or a warm, draft free location.  Allow the loaves to rise until they have reached a height of approximately one inch above the top edge of the loaf pans.  Using my dough proofer, this takes about one hour.

As the dough nears the end of its rise, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  If you have a pizza stone, this is a great time to put it to use.  I like to use stones when baking bread in order to deliver even heat to the bottom of the loaf as it bakes.  I find that my loaves bake more evenly when I have the stones in the oven during preheating and baking.

Once the loaf has risen sufficiently and the oven has reached temperature, transfer the loaves to the oven.  Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, turning at the halfway mark to ensure even browning.  When the loaves are fully baked, they will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.  Remove the fully baked loaves from their pans to a wire rack. Top the loaves with melted butter if desired and  allow them to cool completely before slicing or storing.

Don’t miss my post about the best way to store fresh bread to learn how you should be storing your fresh loaf of bread.  You can also learn more about My Favorite Bread Baking Tools and Ingredients and share your own with me.


This recipe is part of The Bread Baker’s Series, a collaborative series of posts from Kitchen Kneads and 1840Farm.  It’s easy to make sure that you don’t miss a single post in The Bread Baker’s Series. Subscribe to The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter or join The 1840 Farm Community on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Be sure to subscribe to Kitchen Kneads Email updates and follow them on Facebook and Pinterest.

By following Kitchen Kneads and 1840 Farm, you’ll be the first to see each post in our collaborative Bread Baker’s Series. If you have a great bread baking tip or recipe to share, we invite you to leave a comment and add your voice to the conversation!

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/12/the-1840-farm-daily-loaf/

Cinnamon Babka

If you’re looking for a way to celebrate the holiday season at your family breakfast table, look no further.  You simply can’t do better than homemade Cinnamon Babka.  While I have made this loaf innumerable times, my family still gets excited at the promise of a loaf of Cinnamon Babka on our breakfast menu.

Babka is a European delicacy and seems to be made in as many different versions as there are countries in Europe.  References to Poland, Bulgaria, Denmark, and Israel are abundant.  Different fillings are used and different shapes are made of the finished loaves.  You’ll even find it called Baba in some countries.

No matter the geography where it is found, this is a bread used to celebrate holidays and mark special occasions.  Once you have tasted it, you’ll understand why.

I can’t claim that this is a truly authentic version of Babka. I can promise you that it is delicious and sure to please the family and friends gathered around your holiday table.

 


These are the tools that I used to create this loaf in our kitchen.  I have provided these links to enable you to learn more about the tools and specialty ingredients that I personally use on a daily basis.  These links will take you to exterior sites in order for you to learn more about each product.  Some of these links are of the affiliate variety.  Those links have not influenced my honest opinion or recommendation of these products.


Cinnamon Babka
makes one standard sized loaf

I like to use my stand mixer to work this dough.  I find that it does a wonderful job of incorporating the butter evenly.  While I use freshly milled whole wheat flour, you can substitute a high quality store brand of flour if you don’t have access to a mill.  If you don’t have Grandma Eloise’s Dough Enhancer or vital wheat gluten, you can omit it from the recipe.  The resulting loaf will still be delicious, but the texture will be slightly more dense and the shelf life will be several days shorter. Cinnamon is my favorite Babka filling, but fresh preserves or chocolate ganache can be substituted with equally delicious results.

DOUGH
1/2 cup (4 ounces) warm water
1 Tablespoon honey
1 package (2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup (150 grams) Whole Wheat flour
1 1/4 cup (150 grams) All-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Grandma Eloise Dough Enhancer
1 Tablespoon vital wheat gluten
6 Tablespoons (3 ounces) butter, cut into small cubes
FILLING
2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
4 Tablespoons (2 ounces) softened butter
1/2 cup (96 grams) brown sugar

If you are using a dough proofer, which I highly recommend, preheat the proofer following the manufacturer’s instructions as you prepare the dough.

In a large bowl, combine the warm water and honey.  Sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the water and allow to rest for approximately five minutes as you assemble and measure the dry ingredients.

After five minutes have passed, add the egg, vanilla extract, and salt to the bowl with the yeast and whisk gently to combine thoroughly.  Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and stir to form a shaggy dough using the dough hook on a stand mixer.

Continue to mix the dough until it begins to transform into a smooth ball of dough and pull away from the sides of the bowl.  With the mixer running, begin to add the small cubes of butter individually and slowly, allowing each cube to be smashed against the side of the bowl by the dough before the dough seems to absorb the butter.  Should the dough break, or fall apart, during this process, don’t panic.  Simply stop adding butter and allow the machine to knead the dough until it is again a smooth, elastic ball of dough.  Add the cubes of butter until they have all been incorporated.  Continue mixing until the dough is smooth and shiny, approximately 5 to 8 minutes.  If you prefer, you can perform the final kneading by hand.  At the end of kneading, the dough should pass the windowpane test.

If you are unfamiliar with the windowpane test, the technique is quite simple but incredibly helpful when making a loaf of bread.  This windowpane test will help you to determine if your dough has been kneaded sufficiently to yield a wonderful finished loaf.  By using this technique, you will be certain that your homemade bread dough will produce a beautiful loaf of bread.

Conducting the windowpane test is simple.  After you have kneaded the dough to the point when you think that it is ready to be shaped into loaves, take a small ball of dough and stretch it between your fingers until it is thin and translucent (much like a window).  If the dough stretches without breaking, it has been kneaded long enough to develop the gluten and is ready to prepare for its rise.  If the dough breaks, continue kneading until it passes the test.

Once your dough passes the windowpane test, form the dough into a ball and place it in a large, lightly oiled bowl.  Place this bowl in your proofer or another warm, draft free spot in your kitchen.  Allow the dough to rest and rise for approximately one hour.  To determine if the dough is ready to proceed, simply poke your finger into the dough until it touches the bottom of the bowl.  Remove your finger and observe the ball of dough.  The indentation made by your finger should remain.  If it does, proceed to the next step.  If not, allow the dough to rest and rise for another 30 minutes before attempting this test again.

In a small bowl, combine the softened butter and cinnamon.  Stir to make a smooth paste.  Measure the brown sugar and set aside.  Prepare a loaf pan by applying a thin coat of butter, oil, or pan spray.

When the dough is ready, place it on a dough mat or a lightly floured surface.  Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle that is approximately 10 x 20 inches in size.  Using an offset spatula, gently spread the cinnamon butter over the surface of the dough taking care not to stretch or tear the underlying dough.  Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the cinnamon butter.

 Using both hands, begin to roll the dough from the long side, keeping the dough taught.  If you have ever rolled a batch of cinnamon rolls, this is the same technique.  Continue to roll the dough and filling, keeping the roll as tight as possible.

Once the dough is in an even roll, form it into an “s” shape.  Using your hands, roll this “s” towards you, pressing the dough together.  Pick up the ends of the roll and twist the dough several times before placing it in the prepared loaf pan.  Place the pan in your proofer or warm, draft free location.  Allow the bread to rise until it is approximately 1 inch above than the sides of the pan.

As the dough nears the end of its rise, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  If you have a pizza stone and oven thermometer, this is a great time to put them to use.  I like to use stones when baking bread in order to deliver even heat to the bottom of the loaf as it bakes.  I find that my loaves bake more evenly when I have the stones in the oven during preheating and baking.  An oven thermometer allows me to ensure that my oven is heating to and holding the correct temperature.

Once the loaf has risen sufficiently and the oven has reached temperature, transfer the loaf to the oven.  Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, turning at the halfway mark to ensure even browning.  When the loaf is fully baked, it will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom and the surface of the loaf will be an even golden brown.  Remove the fully baked loaf from the oven to a wire rack.    Allow the loaf to cool for ten to fifteen minutes before removing it from the pan to cool completely before storing in a plastic bag or container.

Don’t miss my post about the best way to store fresh bread to learn how you should be storing your fresh loaf of bread.


This recipe is part of The Bread Baker’s Series, a collaborative series of posts from Kitchen Kneads and 1840Farm.  It’s easy to make sure that you don’t miss a single post in The Bread Baker’s Series. Subscribe to The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter or join The 1840 Farm Community on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Be sure to subscribe to Kitchen Kneads Email updates and follow them on Facebook and Pinterest.

By following Kitchen Kneads and 1840 Farm, you’ll be the first to see each post in our collaborative Bread Baker’s Series. If you have a great bread baking tip or recipe to share, we invite you to leave a comment and add your voice to the conversation!

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/11/cinnamon-babka/

Oatmeal Bread

I first made a version of this recipe back in the 1990s. In March of 1995, a recipe for Oatmeal Bread from Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont appeared in Gourmet Magazine.   Gourmet was my source for culinary inspiration and I decided immediately after seeing this recipe that I would give it a try.

At the time, we called Kansas home, but I was drawn to all things New England given my fond memories of time spent in New Hampshire with my Mom visiting my Great Grandparent’s home in the White Mountains.  Fast forward to the present and we have been living in New England for over a decade.  I have even been fortunate enough to enjoy la meal at the Trapp Family Lodge while visiting Stowe.

So many years have passed, but we still enjoy this bread recipe just as much.  I have made a few changes to the original recipe over the years.  Some of them are subtle like my addition of vital wheat gluten and dough enhancer to lighten the final loaf.

A few other changes are more recent and significant.  They both involve the use of our WonderMill.  Lately, I have been including our own freshly milled organic, non-GMO whole wheat flour and oat flour when making this bread.  The resulting loaves have a lovely rich, earthy flavor with a hint of sweetness from the oat flour.

I am always amazed when a recipe can hold our attention through the years.  This one certainly has and it is a permanent fixture in our homemade bread rotation.  I can’t predict what the next decade holds for me or my recipe collection, but I am willing to bet that I’ll be making this bread in 2023!

Oatmeal Bread
Adapted from Oatmeal Bread Trapp Family Lodge from Gourmet Magazine, March 1995
makes 2 loaves

There’s no need to pass up this recipe if you don’t have the ability to mill your own flour.  I made these loaves for years using store bought flour with excellent results.  You can substitute high quality whole wheat flour and  for both the whole wheat flour and increase the All-purpose flour by 1/2 cup as a replacement for the oat flour.  If you don’t have Grandma Eloise’s Dough Enhancer, you can omit it from the recipe.  The resulting loaf will still be delicious, but the texture will be slightly more dense and the shelf life will be several days shorter.  You can learn more about the dough enhancer on my recipe for our Farmhouse Country Loaf.

1/2 stick (2 ounces) butter, melted
1/4 cup (48 grams) brown sugar
1 1/2 cups (120 grams) old fashioned oats
2 1/2 cups (20 ounces) warm water
5 teaspoons (2 packages) active dry yeast
1 cup (60 grams) oat flour
2 1/2 cups (300 grams) whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups (300 grams)All-purpose or bread flour
4 teaspoons Grandma Eloise Dough Enhancer
2 Tablespoons vital wheat gluten
1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
beaten egg or melted butter for brushing the dough if desired

If you are using a dough proofer, preheat the proofer following the manufacturer’s instructions as you prepare the dough.

In a large bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar, oats, and hot water.  Mix to combine.  Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture and set aside for five minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Use a whisk to mix the dry ingredients.  When the five minutes have elapsed, stir the liquid ingredients and then add the dry ingredients in one addition.  Mix using a spoon or clean hands until a shaggy dough forms.

Remove the ball of shaggy dough from the bowl to a floured surface.  Knead the dough, adding more flour as necessary, until it passes the windowpane test, approximately ten minutes.

If you are unfamiliar with the windowpane test, the technique is quite simple but incredibly helpful when making a loaf of bread.  This windowpane test will help you to determine if your dough has been kneaded sufficiently to yield a wonderful finished loaf.  By using this technique, you will be certain that your homemade bread dough will produce a beautiful loaf of bread.

Conducting the windowpane test is simple.  After you have kneaded the dough to the point when you think that it is ready to be shaped into loaves, take a small ball of dough and stretch it between your fingers until it is thin and translucent (much like a window).  If the dough stretches without breaking, it has been kneaded long enough to develop the gluten and is ready to prepare for its rise.  If the dough breaks, continue kneading until it passes the test.

Once your dough passes the windowpane test, form the dough into a ball and allow it to rest on the counter for 5 to 10 minutes.  After the dough has rested, divide the dough into two even balls.  Shape each ball into a loaf and place in a lightly oiled loaf pan. If desired, brush the top of each loaf with a little beaten egg or melted butter.  A few oats can be sprinkled on top to garnish the finished loaf.

Using a sharp knife, make several slits in the surface of the loaf.  Scoring the loaf will allow the dough to rise and bake evenly without breaking the beautiful top crust.  Set the loaves aside to rise in a proofing chamber or a warm, draft free location.  Allow the loaves to rise until they have reached a height of approximately one inch above the top edge of the loaf pans.  Using my dough proofer, this takes about one hour.

As the dough nears the end of its rise, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  If you have a pizza stone, this is a great time to put it to use.  I like to use stones when baking bread in order to deliver even heat to the bottom of the loaf as it bakes.  I find that my loaves bake more evenly when I have the stones in the oven during preheating and baking.

Once the loaf has risen sufficiently and the oven has reached temperature, transfer the loaves to the oven.  Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, turning at the halfway mark to ensure even browning.  When the loaves are fully baked, they will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.  Remove the fully baked loaves from their pans to a wire rack.    Allow them to cool completely before slicing or storing.

Don’t miss my post about the best way to store fresh bread to learn how you should be storing your fresh loaf of bread.


This recipe is part of The Bread Baker’s Series, a collaborative series of posts from Kitchen Kneads and 1840Farm.  It’s easy to make sure that you don’t miss a single post in The Bread Baker’s Series. Subscribe to The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter or join The 1840 Farm Community on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Be sure to subscribe to Kitchen Kneads Email updates and follow them on Facebook and Pinterest.

By following Kitchen Kneads and 1840 Farm, you’ll be the first to see each post in our collaborative Bread Baker’s Series. If you have a great bread baking tip or recipe to share, we invite you to leave a comment and add your voice to the conversation!

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/10/oatmeal-bread/

Wholegrain Buttermilk Biscuits

Fall is in the air here at 1840 Farm and another homeschooling semester is underway.  This year, one of our homeschooling goals is to spend more time together in the kitchen baking and cooking.  We’ll be learning the basics and adding in a few family and holiday favorites for good measure.  We’ll also be sharing many of the recipes and techniques with you so that you can try them in your kitchen.

I decided to start with a simple recipe and a bit of kitchen science for good measure.  So, we gathered around our kitchen table to learn more about baking soda and baking powder.  You can learn all about the subject by reading my post:  Kitchen Science:  Baking Soda vs Baking Powder.

In my opinion, few recipes highlight baking powder in the way that a great homemade biscuit does, so we started gathering our ingredients and preparing to make a batch of buttermilk biscuits from scratch.  In moments, we had our ingredients and tools.  We were ready to mill a batch of organic, non-GMO flour, make our own baking powder, and finish the biscuits by using a biscuit cutter that had been passed down from my Great Grandmother.

 First, we milled a batch of whole wheat flour using our WonderMill.  If you don’t mill your own flour, a high quality whole wheat flour can be substituted or you can use All-purpose flour if you prefer.  We mixed up enough fresh baking powder for each child to make their own batch of biscuits and started weighing our ingredients.

Then it was time to mix up the dough and break out our rolling pins.  We talked while we rolled out the dough.  We couldn’t help but discuss the generations of our family that had come before us as we used a biscuit cutter that showed signs of wear from its decades of use.  I watched them fill with pride as they gently transferred each round of biscuit dough to the baking pan.

That evening, we gathered around our family table and enjoyed the biscuits as the centerpiece of our meal.  They were delicious used as the bread for our heirloom Green Zebra Tomato BLT sandwiches.  They had a light, flaky texture that was just as delicious when enjoyed for breakfast the next morning, warm with a pat of butter and drizzle of our own maple syrup.

These biscuits were so popular that we have already enjoyed them a second time.  I’m quite certain that we’ll be making them again soon.  I hope that your family will enjoy them as much as mine did.

Buttermilk Biscuits
makes 8 biscuits

The key to making a light, flaky biscuit is to mix the dough enough to break the butter into very small pieces without mixing it so much as to develop the gluten in the flour.  Don’t worry, there’s a simple trick to ensuring that you achieve that state consistently when making biscuits.  Simply grate the butter before adding it to the dry ingredients.  While it may sound unconventional, grating the butter makes all the difference.  The butter will be in small shards and easily distributed through the dry ingredients with little effort.

Take care not to over flour the dough while rolling.  Too much flour will create a dry, heavy biscuit.  I like to use a seasoned french rolling pin or silicone covered rolling pin and rolling mat when making biscuits.  Both are less likely to need excess flour in order to prevent sticking.

1 cup (120 grams) whole wheat flour
1 cup (120 grams) All-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons baking powder
6 Tablespoons butter, grated
3/4 cup (6 ounces) buttermilk

In a large bowl, combine the flours, salt, and baking powder..  Use your dry fingers or a whisk to combine the dry ingredients before adding the grated butter to the bowl.  Using your fingers, gently toss the grated butter and the dry ingredients until the small shards of butter are evenly distributed through the dry ingredients..

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients before adding the buttermilk all at once.  Use a spoon or your hands to mix the dry ingredients into the buttermilk.  Continue to mix until the dry and wet ingredients are fully combined .Take care not to overmix, stopping as soon as the dough is evenly moist.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface.  Add a sprinkling of flour to the top of the dough and pat into a rectangular shape.  With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 1/2 inch thick. Fold the top third down to the middle of the dough.  Fold the bottom third up to the middle of the dough.  Turn the dough 90 degrees and roll until 1/2 inch thick.  Repeat this folding and turning two more times.  The folding and turning will help to create buttery layers in the dough and yield a very flaky biscuit.

Roll the dough into a final rectangle 1/2 inch thick.  Dip a biscuit cutter in flour and cut out each biscuit, disturbing the dough as little as possible.  Gently transfer each round to a baking tray or pan.

Place the pan of biscuits in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to allow the butter to solidify.  Take any remaining scraps of dough and gently shape into a rectangle before wrapping with plastic wrap and placing in the refrigerator.  If allowed to rest, this dough can be rolled and cut into biscuits or pressed into the bottom of a pie pan to serve as the crust for sweet or savory dishes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Remove the biscuits from the refrigerator and allow them to come to room temperature as the oven preheats.  Transfer the biscuits to the hot oven.  Bake for 12-16 minutes or until lightly browned with a dry exterior.  Remove from the oven and brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter if desired.  Serve warm.

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Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/09/wholegrain-buttermilk-biscuits/

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