Oatmeal Bread

September 22, 2011

I just love baking bread. I used to use my bread machine about once a week, but it’s been put away for over two years now. I decided this was the perfect opportunity to pull it out of hiding!

PhotobucketI found this oatmeal bread recipe in Better Homes and Gardens’ “Bread Machine Recipes,” and I thought it sounded like just the perfect thing for the fall weather we are having here!

I made a 1-1/2 pound loaf. (Though I am wishing I had made a 2 pound loaf!) The instructions here are for the 1-1/2 pound loaf; the printable recipe card below has both sizes.

First, toast 1 cup of quick-cooking rolled oats in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, until they are brown (stir occasionally). This brings out a really great nutty smell and flavor.

oats sm

Then fill up your bread machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For my Toastmaster, I added 1/3 cup water and 2/3 cup milk, warmed to around 80 degrees, and 1 tablespoon of butter, cut into pieces.

milk and butter sm

Next I added 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar and 3/4 teaspoon salt. I layered 2-1/2 cups of bread flour and the toasted oats on top of the liquids.

The cookbook instructions are to add the oats with the flour. I added half the flour, then the oats, then the rest of the flour.

flour and oatmeal sm

{It is important to use bread flour in bread recipes, not just all-purpose flour. Bread flour has a higher gluten (a kind of protein) content than AP flour. The gluten traps the carbon dioxide that is formed by the yeast, which helps the dough to rise. AP flour just doesn’t have the same gluten content, and may not hold up to all the kneading that goes on in bread-making. Save yourself some headaches, and make an extra trip to the grocery store for bread flour.}

Finally, I added 1 teaspoon of Red Star Quick Rise Yeast in a little pile right in the middle.

yeast sm

I loaded everything right into the bread machine, and set it for the whole wheat cycle, and a medium crust color. I love just a hint of crunch on the crust, while the inside of the bread is nice and soft – the medium crust color setting hits this perfectly for me! (If you don’t have a whole wheat or whole grain setting on your machine, just use the basic white bread option.)

bread machine sm

Four hours later, and ta da – it seems like no work at all! (And isn’t that the best thing about bread machines?!)

finished loaf sm

This bread was so good warm with butter right out of the bread machine…

slices sm

But it was also great lightly toasted with egg salad, fresh garden tomatoes, and homemade pickles! (The good thing about putting in a garden late, is that we still have fresh off the vine tomatoes in September!)

egg salad sm

This will be a huge favorite of mine coming into the fall and winter. Something about the oats just gives this bread a great texture. We will be eating this with soups and stews, with big hearty sandwiches, and just warm with a bunch of butter. Can’t beat that. 🙂

The printable recipe card…oatmeal bread recipe card

(Thank you to Red Star Yeast for a coupon for the yeast.)

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Piece of custard!

June 23, 2011
I’m so happy to be posting my first Gooseberry Patch recipe!

 

As the readers at Real Farmwives of America & Friends voted on, I will be cooking from Autumn with Family and Friends for the next three months. autumnfamilyfriendsSo, let’s jump right in!! I started with the Pumpkin Custard Crunch recipe.

First, gather your ingredients for the custard part:custard ingredients

Beat three eggs…eggs

And add one 29 ounce can of pumpkin (that’s the big ones), 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. (I went heavy on the pie spice. I’m a spice girl. But not like the scary lip-synching ones from the 90s.)pumpkin

I would recommend mixing the pumpkin and spices together first, then adding the eggs. It takes a little extra “oomph” to get the eggs to combine evenly with the pumpkin, and I think adding the spices first might help.

Add one cup of milk… (I used skim)milk

one can of sweetened condensed milk, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. (I used the non-fat sweetened condensed milk. I’m going to be using a cup of butter later – I’m trying to cut back on the calories where I can!)vanilla

Mix it up to a beautiful pumpkin pie-like consistency, and pour it into a greased 9×13 baking pan.custard

Then gather your ingredients for the crunch topping:crunch ingredients

Melt one cup (two sticks) of butter. This took about 90 seconds in the microwave.melt butter

Mix 3 cups of quick-cooking oats, 1 cup of packed brown sugar… (I used the Splenda brown sugar blend. If you try that, you should cut the amount of brown sugar by half. I forgot to do that. Whoops.)oats

Add 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1 cup of crushed walnuts or pecans, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. (Again, I went a bit heavy on the cinnamon.)pecans

Mix it all up, and add the melted butter. Toss that mixture until it is a buttery, crumby, yummy mess. add butter

(I had to switch to a bigger bowl for this part. I thought my 8-cup bowl would be plenty, but… 3 cups oats + 1 cup brown sugar + 1 cup flour + 1 cup pecans = 6 cups. Plus butter. Plus room for mixing. Note to self – always use a bigger bowl!)

Spoon the crunch topping over the custard. Don’t be shy. You have over 6 cups of topping! Be generous, and layer heavily. Seriously. There’s about an inch of “topping” here.before baking

Bake it at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes, until a knife comes out clean. In my stoneware pan, it took 55 minutes to bake.

Serve warm, and enjoy!!piece of custard

This would be great served with vanilla ice cream (I didn’t have any), or whipped cream (didn’t have any of that, either).

This is also fantastic cold for breakfast the next morning. Hypothetically. Or not so hypothetically.

Mine came out a bit too sweet, but that is all my fault for adding extra brown sugar. Although I do like the brown sugar flavor. I think this would be even a notch better with 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg added to the custard… That’s for next time!

The printable recipe card:pumpkin_custard_crunch_card

 

Photobucket

 

Special thanks to Gooseberry Patch for providing me with this great cookbook to try and share with you. If you would like to purchase this or other cookbooks, please visit their store. If you would like to see other great recipes, check out www.realfarmwivesofamerica.com.

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Easter lamb cake

April 22, 2011

The Easter lamb cake was a tradition in my house growing up. My mom used to make it with a pound cake mix. Because I wanted to play in this month’s Iron Chef Challenge hosted by A Latte with Ott, A, I made a cake from scratch!IronChef ClabberGirl

Having never made a pound cake (or any other cake, for that matter) from scratch, I searched for a recipe. My favorite, Alton Brown, had what looked like a yummy pound cake recipe, but it didn’t use baking powder. I did manage to find a cake recipe on Allrecipes.com that was supposed to be used with this lamb cake mold! Cool! (And thanks!)

First, I assembled the ingredients, including a brand-new container of Clabber Girl baking powder.ingredients

Don’t forget your lamb cake mold! You do have one of these, don’t you? If not, look here.lamb mold

Cream together 1 cup of butter and 2 cups of sugar (I used Splenda instead of sugar).cream butter

Mix together 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

This recipe says to add 1 cup of water to the butter/sugar mixture and mix that well, then to add in the flour mixture. I tried just adding the water, and it made a mess. Really. The water didn’t combine with the butter/Splenda, and it splashed all over my counter. (Because the butter was too cold? Because it was Splenda instead of sugar? Any ideas?)

So I just added the flour mixture, and a little more water to compensate for the water that was on my counter. Then mix in 1 teaspoon vanilla.add flour

Then, beat 4 egg whites until stiff. I had never done this before, and it was much easier than I thought it would be. Hooray for hand mixers!beat egg whites

Peaks! Neat!egg white peaks

Fold the egg whites into the batter.fold in

Grease both halves of the lamb mold within an inch of your life.ungreased mold

Really. Just when you think it’s greased enough, grease it some more. I usually use butter for greasing pans, sometimes the spray stuff. For this project, I busted out the Crisco. I wanted some serious grease!greased mold

Fill your mold, but pay attention to the type of mold you have. This mold is meant to be filled on the “front” half of the lamb, and baked as a single piece. Some are meant to be baked as two halves and put together at the end.full mold

This mold has a small vent hole in the back of the lamb’s head. (That helps me to remember which side goes up – the hole goes up so the poor lamb’s brains don’t leak out in the oven!)

I put the mold, face down, on a cookie sheet and into a 350 oF preheated oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes.bake cake

Then I did a little dance because all the dishes I used to make the cake went into the new dishwasher! After I started it, I thought to double-check that my stainless steel mixing bowls are dishwasher safe. (Phew! They are!)full dishwasher

After 45 minutes in the oven, I used a toothpick through the vent hole to see if the cake was done. The toothpick came out clean, so I pulled the cake. I let it cool for a few minutes before I carefully took off the back of the mold. (I had a little accident with part of the cake. Remember what I said about grease?) I didn’t think he looked quite done enough, so I gently put the mold back on, and stuck him back in the oven for another five minutes.almost done

Five minutes later, done lamb cake! I had to use a knife to loosen the cake from the edges of the front part of the mold. I didn’t grease that part too well, I guess. Once the edges were loosened, he came right out!done

Cool completely, and then start the icing!

First, put a layer of icing on your cake base so the lamb has some help standing up. (This cake should stand on its own, but this will give a bit more stability.)  base

I used icing from a can. I thought about making my own, but decided making the cake from scratch was enough to handle this time around.

Then I had to do a little surgery to put the lamb back together again.surgery 1

Good thing I am a large animal veterinarian!surgery 2

Stand the little guy up, and go to town with the icing!standing

I started with the back to get my technique down. I didn’t want a really “smooth” look, so it sort of looked like wool.iced back

My mom used to dust the cake with coconut to give it some texture. We’re not big coconut eaters here, so I skipped that step.iced front

I did dust him with sugar (the real stuff!) for some dimension, and gave him jelly bean eyes and a nose.features

Add some grass for him to sit on, and some friends for him to hang out with.friends

Since my cats like to eat things they are not supposed to, I made sure to use the paper Easter grass, instead of the plastic stuff. Plastic stringy things are bad news for kitties. Always.

Now, if only my cake dome would fit without squishing the poor lamb’s head! Drat!dome

Happy Easter!

easter_lamb_cake

Also linked to Sweets for a Saturday at Sweet as Sugar Cookies.

and Seaside Simplicity‘s Easter Party.