CHEW THIS! Grandma Barbra’s Homemade White Bread

Grandma Barbra’s Homemade White Bread

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, March 17th 2019 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Grandma Barbra’s Homemade Bread Memories…
Blaise Doubman

I have fond memories of my Grandma Barbra and I making homemade white bread in her kitchen on cold winter days with her giant white electronic bread maker. I remember thinking it was the coolest machine at the time and often wondered how it worked as it did. I think we only made white bread and never did expand into other kinds but that white bread was some of the best of my life. We would get the machine greased and ready, measure and pour everything in and prepare for the baking. It took hours, because the bread would be mixed, then it would rest, mixed again, rest, mixed again, baked and then finally cooled. Our first several loaves were always lopsided, but it did not matter. It was delicious! We did finally figure out how to maintain the shape of the loaf and then there was no stopping us! Ha! I still remember removing the bread from its container and placing it on a plate. We would try and slice the bread but would usually end up just breaking it up into chunks with our hands, buttering each piece with lots and lots of butter and eating it while still extremely hot. I have so many wonderful memories with my Grandma Barbra and I love her so much. She has taught me so much about life, in the kitchen and out of. I joke with her that I am writing a memoir of our crazy times together and that I am going to title it, “NUTS”. She always laughs at this.

When developing this recipe, I wanted to try and steer away from a bread machine, simply because a lot of people do not have them anymore. I think somewhere in the early 2000’s bread became “unfashionable” and people stopped eating, and making, bread as much. Therefore, almost eliminating bread machines completely. I am not a follower of diets, fad or otherwise, and I love bread! Of course, I limit myself, everything in moderation including moderation, but I love a slice of warm white bread with tons of butter on top. My friend, Cindy Shelton, also loves hot bread and butter. Maybe I will make her a loaf of this bread soon. If you know someone who loves bread, take a little time and make them a loaf of this bread! It makes 2 loaves so one for you and one for a friend! This also makes the perfect gift.

Grandma Barbra’s Homemade White Bread

I always use active dry yeast, not the refrigerated yeast packets that you can find at most grocery stores. I find the active dry yeast to be better, and fresher believe it or not, than the refrigerated version. I also use Kosher salt for this recipe, as well as all my other ones. I highly recommend investing in a large box of Kosher salt for your cooking and baking needs. The flakes of salt are larger, therefore you can use less salt in your finished dishes.

2 cups warm water
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast, 1 package
½ stick unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
5 cups white all-purpose flour

Start by combining the warm water with the active dry yeast in a large bowl. The water needs to be warm to the touch but not hot. If the water is too hot it will kill the yeast. However, if the water is too cold, the yeast will not bloom. I use the hottest tap water I have and then let it cool down for about 2 minutes. Add in the melted butter, white granulated sugar and salt. Stir.

Add in 2 cups of the white all-purpose flour and stir together well. Add in another 2 cups of the white all-purpose flour and stir together well, using clean dry hands if needed.

Take the dough and place onto a clean, dry, lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for 20 minutes, adding in the remaining cup of white all-purpose flour.

The dough should not be dry at this stage but instead a slightly sticky and thick dough.

Place the dough into a buttered bowl and cover the top with a kitchen towel. Place in a warm place and let rest and rise for 1 hour without disturbing it.

After 1 hour, remove the dough and knead for another 5 minutes. Place the dough back into the bowl, cover the top with a kitchen towel and place in a warm place and let rice for 1 hour without disturbing it. In the meantime, spray 2 loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray containing flour. Be sure to grease the loaf pans generously.

Remove the dough from the bowl and divide the dough in half. Shape each half into loaf shapes and place each into their prepared pans. Cover the tops of both with a kitchen towel. Place in a warm place and let rise 1 hour without disturbing it.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Bake the loaves, in preheated oven, for 35 minutes. Remove, cool, unmold, slice and serve.

Ask and Answer: People have been wondering if you can substitute unsweetened chocolate for bittersweet chocolate in recipes. The answer is, no! Unsweetened chocolate contains no sugar whatsoever, whereas, bittersweet contains anywhere from 10-50% sugar. If using unsweetened chocolate in recipes you will more than likely need to add sugar for sweetness. If using bittersweet chocolate, very little sugar may be asked for. They are not interchangeable.

Lemonade Rolls

I love cinnamon rolls but these cinnamon rolls have been transformed into a lemon version! How? The typical cinnamon and sugar mixture has been replaced with a powdered lemonade drink mix, fresh lemon juice and fresh lemon zest. These are beyond delicious and I am recommending these to all the lemon lovers out there! Fabulously lemony!

Lemonade Rolls

For the rolls…
2 packages dry active yeast (each 1/4 oz)
2 1/2 cups warm water
5 cups white all-purpose flour
1 box lemon cake mix
2 teaspoons salt
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup lemonade drink mix powder

For the frosting…
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
2-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Pinch of salt

In a medium sized bowl combine the dry active yeast and warm water. Let stand. Be sure the mixture is bubbly. If the mixture is not bubbly, throw it out and start over.

In a large bowl combine the white all-purpose flour, lemon cake mix and salt. Whisk together. Carefully add the yeast and water mixture. Stir together well. Once the dough has formed, form into a ball and place a clean kitchen towel over the top. Place in a warm spot to double in size for at least an hour.

After an hour, remove the dough and place onto a lightly floured surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into a large rectangle. Brush the entire surface with the melted unsalted butter. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the dough the lemonade drink mix powder.

Roll up the dough, starting with the corner closest to you. Cut off the ends with a sharp knife and cut the remaining dough into 10 large size pieces. Place them cut side up into a greased 9×13-inch baking pan.

Cover with a clean kitchen towel. Place in a warm spot to double in size for at least an hour.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Place pan into oven and bake 25 minutes.

Meanwhile make the frosting by combining the melted unsalted butter with the powdered sugar, fresh lemon zest, fresh lemon juice and salt. Beat until smooth and creamy.

Remove rolls from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Frost the rolls while still warm. Allow to cool slightly before enjoying.

CHEW THIS! Comforting Banana Bread

Comforting Banana Bread

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, September 2nd 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Facebook Questions and Comforting Banana Bread
Blaise Doubman

I have been getting several emails about my Blaise the Baker Facebook page. Let me clear the air on that subject first before we continue with my column and recipe for banana bread. My Facebook accounts, both private and public, were compromised about a month ago. I thought I had solved the various problems but the problems and issues reoccurred not long after the initial hacking. The safest thing for me to do, for my friends and followers, was to delete both accounts and start over. Facebook will not allow me to start over with my pages until a certain amount of time has passed. As soon as my pages are up and started again I will be sure to let you know the appropriate links so that you can follow along with me again.

There has been a bit of a silver lining in all of this though because it has given me a chance to really sit back and think about how I want to “relaunch” Blaise the Baker and it has also given me this wonderfully delicious recipe for banana bread! How? I needed some comfort after all the hacking news, etc. so I decided that I would develop a new recipe for one of my favorite comforting things – banana bread! This one is simple, delicious and very flavorful. I have several recipes for banana bread, one using a yellow cake mix, one calling for bits of toffee and another that uses sour cream and is studded with cranberries and walnuts. This one though is simple in process and fabulous in flavor. I take the finished bread and cut it into huge slices but feel free to cut the slices according to your tastes, or your level of comfort needed.

Comforting Banana Bread

This banana bread will last for several days when wrapped in plastic wrap and kept at room temperature. Lightly toast the bread and smear with unsalted butter or cream cheese for an even more delicious comforting treat.

1 ¾ cups white all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup white granulated sugar
2 large eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup walnuts, toasted (optional)

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a regular size loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In a large bowl whisk together the white all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In another large bowl beat together the softened unsalted butter with the white granulated sugar until light in color and fluffy in texture. Beat in the large eggs.

Stir in the mashed bananas and pure vanilla extract. Gently fold in the whisked dry ingredients.

Add in the toasted walnuts, if using, and stir until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top. Bake in preheated oven for 44 minutes. The top will be split and golden brown in color.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before turning it out onto a piece of parchment paper to cool completely. Cut into large comforting slices and serve.

Ask and Answer: Several people have messaged me to ask more about my position as a “Glen Oaks Health Campus Family Ambassador” and what it means. Lots of you have had loved ones admitted into Glen Oaks in the last several months and remember reading about my position there. What an Ambassador does is basically help represent Glen Oaks Health Campus as a whole. I am here to answer any questions you may have about the facility or address any concerns you may have. I also have written a “business review” of Glen Oaks Health Campus, which can be found on my website, blaisethebaker.com

Cake Mix Yeast Rolls

Originally published on “Blaise the Baker” October 14th, 2015

A friend of mine offered me the challenge of using a cake mix to make something other than a cake or cookies – and something that was savory and not sweet. Guess what!? I did it! With research and development I have discovered a recipe for “Cake Mix Yeast Rolls”. Yep! You heard that right… And they taste nothing like cake. They taste everything like yeast rolls!!!

No kneading, and simple as can be!

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Cake Mix Yeast Rolls

1 envelope dry active yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 cups white all-purpose flour
1/2 package of white cake mix
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Start by combining the dry active yeast and warm water in a large bowl. Swish around slightly to make sure yeast is dissolved.

Next, add in the white all-purpose flour, white cake mix, salt and melted butter. Stir well until everything is incorporated.

Transfer dough to a bowl and cover with vegetable oil. Turn to coat the whole dough ball with the oil. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm spot for 1 hour.

Spray 24 muffin cups with non-stick cooling spray and divide dough evenly between cups – filling each muffin cup about 1/2 full.

Cover again with kitchen towel, and let rise in a warm spot for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake yeast rolls for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Allow to cool in pans.

Enjoy!

Sprite Biscuits

Originally published on “Blaise the Baker” June 18th, 2015

When my Grandma Barbra and I first made these, we both fell in love with them! So tender, delicious and quick – you will not believe there are only 4 ingredients – and perfect for breakfast (with butter and jam) or dinner (with butter and honey). No rolling pin? No problem – for this recipe, one is not required.

Try these today…

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Sprite Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose baking mix, plus more for sprinkling (I use “Jiffy” brand)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Sprite
5 tablespoons salted butter

Start by preheating your oven to 450 degrees F.

Put the five tablespoons of salted butter in a 9-inch square pan and place in oven to melt gently, while you prepare the biscuits. Be sure to keep an eye on it. You want the butter melted – not burnt. If the butter burns, throw it out and start again – with a better eye on it the second time.

In a large bowl, “cut together” the all-purpose baking mix and sour cream with a fork or two knives. Be careful with this part, and have a light hand about it. Do not over-mix the dough – very important.

Next, gently stir in the 1/2 cup of Sprite. Stir until a soft dough forms together.

Take about 1/2 cup of additional all-purpose baking mix, and spread it on a clean work surface, in preparation for rolling out your dough.

Knead and roll the dough in the all-purpose baking mix, until well coated. Use your fingers and hands to pat the dough out. Using a biscuit cutter (or the bottom of a drinking glass – which is what I use), to cut out the biscuits. (This recipe makes nine biscuits total.)

Take the 9-inch square pan from the oven, place the cut biscuits right in the pan, on top of the melted butter and return to the oven, until brown, which will take about 13 minutes total.

Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Enjoy!

CHEW THIS! Cinnamon Roll Biscuits

Cinnamon Roll Biscuits with Cream Cheese Glaze

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, January 4th 2015 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Warm cinnamon roll biscuits are perfect for breakfast or dessert…
Blaise Doubman

Happy New Year! I hope this New Year makes all of your greatest wishes and dreams come true. Around my house, New Year’s is typically celebrated in a small celebration with just close family. It’s always a time to reflect on what has happened throughout the year – and a time to guess what will take place on the road ahead. Also celebrated every New Year’s is the promising of “New Year’s Resolutions”. I’m bad at keeping mine – but I think mine will be different this year. I’m really going to try and keep mine. What is it? I’m going to make the promise to myself to eat breakfast (and a better breakfast) every morning. A promise to myself to start my day right, and this recipe was inspired by it.

I love delicious homemade cinnamon rolls. I always start from the soft interior, and work my way out to the crispy edges. I was in the mood for a cinnamon roll the other day, but wanted to create something that was a little different. I created this recipe after being inspired by seeing something similar in one of my older cookbooks. It’s a cinnamon roll – but in biscuit form – and it couldn’t be any more delicious. Perfect for breakfast…

Cinnamon Roll Biscuits with Cream Cheese Glaze

These can be served with or without the cream cheese glaze and are perfect for either breakfast or dessert. This recipe is very versatile and can easily be doubled, tripled – or even halved. Feel free to roll the dough out with a rolling pin – but it’s not necessary. (I like using my fingers and palms to spread out the dough). If you do use a rolling pin, be sure to move the dough around frequently to prevent sticking.

For the biscuits…
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 stick of butter (4 oz.), cut into cubes
2/3 cup whole milk

For the filling…
¾ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons butter, melted

For the glaze…
1 tablespoon cream cheese
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
Pinch of salt

Start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees F.

Lightly spray two 8 or 9-inch cake pans with non-stick cooking spray.

Start by making the filling. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and finely chopped pecans in a small bowl and set aside.

Next, start making the biscuits by combining the all-purpose flour, white granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add the cubed butter and, using your fingertips, combine the butter and dry mixture together until consistency is like pebbles and sand.

Into the mixture, add the milk and stir until a dough is formed.

Place the dough onto a floured working surface and knead about 10 times – until the dough is easily held together, yet flexible. Spread the dough out using your fingers and palms to roughly the size of a large rectangle. (Mine ended up being 9-inches wide and 17-inches long).

Using a pastry brush, brush the 4 tablespoons of melted butter evenly all over the dough, being sure to get every single corner.

Spread the filling all over the dough, evenly, and press it down gently with your hand.

Next, carefully roll the dough into a log, by starting with one of the long ends, and rolling until it meets the other long end. Then, using a sharp floured knife cut the roll into slices, making each one about 1-inch thick.

Finally, place the slices into the prepared cake pans (not overcrowding them – give them a little room) and placing them into the preheated oven for 14 minutes.

While the cinnamon roll biscuits are in the oven, make the glaze by combining the cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract, milk and pinch of salt into a bowl. Whisk together and set aside until biscuits are ready.

Once biscuits are puffed and golden, remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before drizzling on glaze.

Serve warm. Leftovers can be kept, covered, at room temperature for 2 days.

Lemon Loaf

Originally published on “Blaise the Baker” July 15th, 2014

I love Starbucks and their drinks, food and standards. I love the company so much – I own some of their stock! One of my favorite things there (aside from their OPRAH Chai Tea and their “Vanilla Bean Frappuccino” – yum!) is their “Lemon Loaf”. If you have ever had a slice…you will know why! It is flavorful, delicious and moist – packed with lemon flavor! I have researched and researched this recipe and discovered several “copycat recipes” available online. I have made something similar to this in the past, with amazing results…so I thought I would try it again (this time with a “copycat recipe”) and see where it leads…

It was delicious (but not as good as Starbuck’s version). I added a little extra lemon juice and zest to the original recipe, and changed the baking time.

The results are good – but if you want the actual thing – you will need to visit Starbucks! At least for now…

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Lemon Loaf

For the loaf…
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup white sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoon lemon extract
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Zest of 1 lemon

For the glaze…
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2-4 teaspoons whole milk

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees, and grease and flour a regular sized loaf pan.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt with a whisk – whisking to combine.

In another bowl, combine the eggs, white sugar, melted butter, vanilla extract, lemon extract, lemon juice, vegetable oil and zest of one lemon, blending well until thoroughly combined.

Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry, being very careful not to over mix the batter.

Once combined, pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and place in preheated oven.

Bake for 50-60 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean)

Once finished baking, remove from oven and allow to cool slightly in the pan before carefully turning the loaf out – and allowing it to fully cool on a plate.

In the meantime, make the glaze by whisking the powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice together. Add a tablespoon of the whole milk a little at a time until the glaze becomes loose. (You want the glaze to be glaze, not frosting)

Pour the glaze over the warm loaf and slice to serve.

Enjoy!