06 February 2010

Weekend Cooking: I'm a Baking Fool

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Snow winter weekends are the perfect excuse for baking. And I spent yesterday afternoon doing just that.

For weekday bread baking, I rely heavily on the bread machine to do the kneading and the first rise. The following recipe comes from one of my favorite bread machine books: The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook by Beth Hensperger (p. 202).

Semolina Country Bread

1½-pound loaf
  • 1⅓ cups water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1¾ cups bread flour
  • 1¼ cups semolina flour
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon gluten
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons SAF yeast (2½ teaspoons bread machine yeast)
Place all the ingredients in the pan according to the order in the manufacturer's instructions. Set crust on dark and program for the French bread or basic cycle; press Start.

Beth Fish's notes: I use just 1 cup of water. I set the machine to knead and let the dough rise once. I take the dough out, punch it down, shape the loaf, and let it rise a second time. I bake it on a stone at 375°F until the internal temperature is about 200°F and the loaf looks golden brown.

Published by Harvard Common Press, 2000
ISBN-13: 9781558321564

What's a snowy weekend without a something sweet? Mr. BFR requested Texas sheet cake, and so I took the opportunity to try a recipe from The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond (p. 218). She calls it Chocolate Sheet Cake and her version is a bit sweeter than the recipe I normally use, but it was easy to make and came out moist and yummy.

Chocolate Sheet Cake

Makes one 18- × 12-inch cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ pound (2 sticks) butter
  • 4 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1¾ sticks butter
  • 4 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • ½ cup finely chopped pecans (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Stir together and set aside. In another bowl, mix the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and baking soda. Mix with a fork and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and add the cocoa. Whisk together to combine. Meanwhile, bring 1 cup water to a boil. When the butter is melted, pour the boiling water in the pan. Allow to bubble for a moment, then turn off the heat. Pour the chocolate mixture into the flour mixture. Stir together for a moment to cool the chocolate, then pour in the egg mixture.

Stir together until smooth, then pour into an ungreased jelly roll pan and bake for 20 minutes.

While the cake is baking, make the icing. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the cocoa powder and stir until smooth. Add the milk and vanilla. Add the powdered sugar. Stir together. Dump in the pecans and stir until well combined.

Immediately after removing the cake from the oven, pour the warm icing over the top. You'll want to avoid doing much spreading, so try to distribute it evenly as you pour.

Beth Fish's notes: (1) Pan size: the standard jelly roll pan is actually 17½- × 11½ inches, which is what I used. (2) For the cake: the boiling water was not listed in the ingredients. My advice is to start the water right away, I was stuck keeping an eye on the cocoa-butter mixture while waiting for the water to boil. (3) For the icing: I added another teaspoon of milk because it was too thick.

Published by William Morrow Cookbooks, 2009
ISBN-13: 979780061658198


KyleeJ 2/6/10, 7:07 AM  

When my mom was over the other day she let me know that she's giving me her bread machine (she doesn't use it since she bought a stand mixer) for my birthday, along with wheat flour, flax seed and other goodies. My birthday isn't for another month, but I'm already making bread in my head. =)

I'll have to look for this book, too. Thanks!

bermudaonion 2/6/10, 8:13 AM  

Those both look delicious! I'm going to be hungry for chocolate cake all day now!

Chris 2/6/10, 8:36 AM  

I tried to make rye bread a couple of weeks ago and it was a disaster. I'm going to stick with bread that doesn't take 6 days to make!

Your bread looks yummy!

This week my post is about growing food.

Molly 2/6/10, 9:06 AM  

We love Texas sheet cake at our house!

I want to try baking bread sometime - and I think I am going to start with the 5 minute Artisian bread recipe. It sounds foolproof....

Beth 2/6/10, 9:15 AM  

The snow is absolutely unbelievable here in Baltimore. I've lived here my whole life and I've never seen anything like this. Snow drifts up to my waist in the street! I-95 shutdown because the snow plows were in an accident! CRAZY!

Of course I'm using the opportunity to cook and bake. Yesterday I made Parker House Rolls and Oatmeal Bread (in the bread machine--I'll have to check out the book you recommended!). Today it's chana masala and homemade naan.

Sandy Nawrot 2/6/10, 9:31 AM  

Sometimes I wish I could just sit down and eat a whole loaf of freshly baked bread. Dang diet.

Heather 2/6/10, 9:33 AM  

Always enjoyable to check out your kitchen.

Southern Chess Bars: I tried this recipe the other day and it was wonderful. We ate some while it was still a bit warm and it was great, but it was even better the next morning when it came cold out of the fridge.

I forget who posted the recipe a few weeks back. Wanted to tell you that I used a 500 gram package of the icing sugar. Thanks

Julie P. 2/6/10, 9:43 AM  

I'll be back tomorrow with my post. I just made a recipe from THE PIONEER WOMAN COOKS too (but that's next week's review.)

Bonnie 2/6/10, 10:08 AM  

We had snow here in the Cleveland area overnight but not as much as you did in Baltimore, Wow! It sounds like staying inside baking and reading is the perfect thing to do on a snowy weekend. I'll have to look for that Bread Machine Cookbook. I have an older bread machine and it's not been baking very good bread lately. I may need a new machine or try baking break from scratch, which is extra work. The chocolate cake sounds delicious!

Jill 2/6/10, 10:55 AM  

I bet your house smelled amazing!!! How much do I love The Pioneer Woman's cookbook???

nat @book, line, and sinker 2/6/10, 11:27 AM  

Delicious tomato sauce with only THREE ingredients! You'll be a believer too--take it from me, an Italian skeptic. :)

Snowed in and having fun.

Nat @Book, Line, and Sinker

Kim 2/6/10, 12:16 PM  

Your post makes me want to get out my bread machine and make some bread! Of course, if it was snowing here I would be baking up a storm here--while reading of course.

Margaret/BooksPlease 2/6/10, 12:38 PM  

I make bread in a machine - that recipe looks inviting. And the chocolate cake - so yummy.

caite 2/6/10, 1:15 PM  

oh, I am a bit late posting.

Blizzard...drove home from work at 6 a.m. on unplowed roads with zero visibility, dug out driveway enough to get car off the road...and then my ELECTRIC WENT OUT!
so I have had quite a day and that is my excuse...and I wish I had a cupcake...lol

JoAnn 2/6/10, 2:07 PM  

The bread recipe looks really good! My husband has been asking me to get the bread machine out, but I've been trying to diet. Bread is my downfall...

Margot at Joyfully Retired 2/6/10, 2:26 PM  

I love the way you use your bread machine and make the bread look the way you want it. I like the idea of letting the second rise absorb the air inb the house.

I've made the sheet cake before when she had it on her blog. It makes a lot of cake. We were looking for people to give it to so the two of us wouldn't eat the whole thing. Very sweet but yummy.

Nise' 2/6/10, 4:34 PM  

I should get my bread machine back out! It sounds so good.

Going to give the chocolate cake a try.

Suko 2/6/10, 11:26 PM  

Bread and chocolate (cake). They both look so delicious!

Esme 2/6/10, 11:26 PM  

You are so lucky to have Pioneer Woman Cooks-that book is on my wish list.

Robin of My Two Blessings 2/7/10, 7:17 PM  

The fresh baked bread is making my mouth water. Will have to try it out.

Care 2/9/10, 7:56 AM  

You're really tempting me with this sheet cake recipe! Mmmmmm

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 2/9/10, 9:59 PM  

I don't know why I've never thought to use the bread machine to mix and first rise. I've used it mostly for pizza dough in the 15+ years we've had it. Now with HBin5 I'm getting more confident with bread baking, and will have to experiment with the machine more.

(I'm trying to ignore that yummy-looking chocolate cake!)

Wendy 2/18/10, 6:23 PM  

Hensperger's Bread Machine Cookbook is one of my most used cookbooks - love it! I haven't made this particular bread (yet), but every recipe comes out great. I also really love her slow cooker cookbook - have you seen that one? It's called "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook"

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