Archive for the Breads Category

Breads ala Z-dog

Posted in Breads with tags on April 9, 2010 by zandrsn

I am posting these recipes from Indonesia so, unfortunately, I have no pictures. I present you with two recipes for breads that have served me well over the years, endearing me into the hearts of many a woman, young and old alike.

Sweet Potato Drop Biscuits
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter; cold
1 cup mashed cooked sweet potatoes; cooled
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk

Mixed, spooned, and baked.

Preheat the oven to 425°.  Grease a baking sheet.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda.  Wisk in the salt.  Grate the frozen stick of butter into the flour mixture.  Work with a fork for a few seconds.  In a separate bowl, whip the sweet potatoes with the brown sugar until very smooth.  Add the buttermilk and whisk until blended completely.  Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and with a fork, stir the mixture for only a few seconds until a wet sticky dough forms.  Do not over work the dough.  Use a spoon to drop 10 or so biscuits onto sheet.  Bake until golden brown and risen, 15 to 18 minutes.

Touch of Grace Biscuits
1-1/2 cups Southern self-rising flour
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/3 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp shortening
1-1/4 cups buttermilk
1 cup bleached all-purpose flour for shaping
2 tbsp butter, melted

Spoon a biscuit-size lump of wet dough into a bowl of all-purpose flour. Then using well floured hands, shape it into roughly a soft round. Shake off excess flour, place in a medium (9″) skillet in which you have melted the 2 tbsp butter. Push the biscuits tightly against each other so they rise up and not spread out.

Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown on top and risen, about 20 minutes.

Notes on flours: If low-protein Southern self-rising flour is not available, use 1 cup regular self-rising all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup cake flour, plus 1/2 tsp baking powder. If self-rising flour isn’t available, use a total of 1-1/2 tsp baking powder.

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Things to do with cornbread

Posted in Breads, Sides with tags , , , , on May 4, 2009 by Rosalini

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Cornbread is the quintessence of soul food. It’s cheap, it’s easy, and it’s ubiquitous but it is also family and sharing and memories and all of those good things that really good food is a part of.  You can make it healthy(er) or really wonderfully rich with bacon and butter and very sharp cheddar cheese. Buttermilk, sour milk, hushpuppy, pone, fried, spicy, herbed, sweet like cake, savory holiday dressing, muffin or skillet—cornbread diversity, yum. Yep, definitely one of my very favorite foods to cook and to eat, especially with greens or black-eyed-peas seasoned with hot peppers and vinegar. There are cornbread purists of all stripes. I’ve heard all manner of claims about the real deal–that buttermilk is the only way, that you should always use white corn meal or only yellow corn meal, that you have to pour batter into a really hot skillet so the crust is properly charred, or that once you start adding “extras” like jalapenos or kernel corn it’s not really cornbread any more–but like lots of things it’s really a matter of taste. For plain jane cornbread I personally like to use white corn meal (for the light, fluffy consistency) and soured milk with a little yogurt added to the batter for moisture and acidity, but there’s something to be said for the rustic, hearty qualities of a good stone ground yellow corn meal, especially for the winter or to make a good southern-style cormeal stuffing with lots of celery and onions. Here’s a basic recipe, or you can always use the Jiffy, a pantry staple:

BASIC CORNBREAD

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, with a large greased cast iron skillet on the center shelf.
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Mix the following dry ingredients:

1.5 cups yellow or white corn meal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Make a well in dry ingredients for the following wet ones:

1 large egg
2 cups buttermilk or soured milk (milk with 1 tbsp of vinegar added)
3/4 cup yogurt or sour cream
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Mix the thick batter until it isn’t lumpy, then carefully pour into the now-hot skillet. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is firm and browned all over, or until your house smells really good and you know it’s done.

Here’s a fancier version for special occasions only:

“COMPANY” CORN BREAD (as in “cornbread for company”, not like “the company store”)
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1.5 cups yellow corn meal
1 cup bread flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 tablespoons baking powder
1.5 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground red pepper (or more to taste)
1 ¾ cups buttermilk (or milk soured with a little vinegar)
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
¼ to ½ cup honey or sugar
1 cup very sharp cheddar cheese, grated
½ cup salted butter
1 giant yellow onion, chopped small or minced
¼ cup cider vinegar (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. In a large cast iron skillet, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent but not quite caramelized (usually about 12-15 minutes on medium heat). Transfer cooked onions and butter to a bowl to cool, but do not refrigerate. Keep the skillet warm over low heat for baking the corn bread (already greased).
3. Combine corn meal, bread flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and ground red pepper in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center.
4. In separate bowl, combine milk, sour cream or yogurt, egg, and honey. Pour into dry ingredients and mix vigorously by hand until smooth. You may need to add more milk to get the right consistency, depending on humidity.
5. Fold in warm onions and sharp cheddar.
6. If you like, add the cider vinegar last and mix in gently.
7. Immediately pour into warm skillet, then bake in preheated oven for about 45 minutes, but you’ll know when it’s ready by the smell. Sometimes it takes longer to cook. Just make sure the center is done. It is very moist cornbread even when fully cooked.

This second recipe is so rich that you should cut it into very small pieces 🙂

Coming up: tomatoes stuffed with cornbread and basil