Simple White Bread

Sunday has arrived and with that all of the things that need to be done around the house!
I always bake two loaves of bread every Sunday for the week ahead. The reason I bake my bread rather than picking it up at the grocery store is because of the ingredient list…why does a loaf of bread from the store have 20+ ingredients while homemade bread has a total of 9 ingredients (including the topping!)

I started baking bread from the day I got Leroy and have never looked back!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons butter
2 packages of active dry yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
1 1/2 cups warm water
5 to 6 cups flour
Milk for brushing top of bread
2 tablespoons of sesame seeds (or whatever seed(s) you would like)

1) Place milk, sugar, salt and butter in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Cool to lukewarm.

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2) Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed mixer bowl.
– I fill my sink up with hot water and put the mixing bowl right in. If you choose to skip this step you will most likely end up with clumps of yeast that, from experience, are hard to dissolve!

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3) Add lukewarm milk mixture and 4 1/2 cups flour to yeast mixture.

4) Attach bowl and dough hook to mixer. Turn to speed 2 and mix about 1 minute (until ingredients are combined)

5) Continuing on speed 2 add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and mix until dough clings to hook and cleans the side of the bowl, about 2 minutes.
– This takes a bit of “intuition” when adding the right amount of flour, but the more you make this dough the easier it becomes, that I can promise 🙂

Here is dough that needs more flour:

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Here is dough that has enough flour:

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6) Kneed dough on speed 2 for another 2 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. Dough will be slightly sticky.

7) Place dough in a greased bowl, turning over to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place away from draft for an hour, or until dough doubles in size.
– The best place I have found for dough to rise is in the oven with the light on. This is a trick I actually learned from my brother who happens to make fantastic pizza dough!

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8) Punch dough down and divide in half.

Here is the dough after its first rise:

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9) On a floured surface, roll each half into a 9×14 rectangle.

10) Starting at the short end, roll the dough tightly.

11) Pinch the ends and turn them under. Place the dough seam side down, in a loaf pan.

12) Place loaf pans in a warm place (back in the oven with just the light on) and let rise for another hour or until doubled in size.
– I don’t cover the dough this time around because I find that when you take the towel off you may deflate the dough.

13) Brush milk on the top of each loaf and sprinkle with sesame seeds (or any seed of your choice)

14) Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

15) Remove from pans immediately and let cool on wire racks.

Here is the finished product!

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Hope you enjoy!

Chocolate chip marble pound cake

Ok it’s time to get down to the baking!
I have decided that I am going to make a chocolate chip marble pound cake on my Thursday night. How did I come to the conclusion you ask?

Simple….

I promised my husband during our trip to the grocery store that if he forgoes the preservative/additive filled “granola bars” I would bake him a delicious pound cake….I made this promise two weeks ago…so I think it’s time 🙂

After searching a few recipes I have settled on a combination of a few and it’s now time for Leroy (my mixer) and I to get to work!

Before I get into the baking of this pound cake I want to share two rules of baking that I live by:

1) READ the recipe all the way through before you start!
– I have been caught red handed not following this rule while making a dessert the day of a dinner party.. Only to realize that a part had to set in the fridge for 12 hours…. Whoops 😦

2) Set out all of your ingredients before you start!
– when you do this you will be able to tell very quickly if you don’t have an ingredient on hand.

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Ingredients:

Vegetable oil spray to grease pan
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted and softened butter + 3 tablespoons melted
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup heavy cream OR milk
1/3 cup chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Spray an 8×4 loaf pan with vegetable oil spray, line with parchment paper and spray the paper.

3) In a medium bowl sift the flour with the baking powder and salt.
**note – I always recommend sifting dry ingredients together, it removes clumps and makes a batter smoother! **

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4) In another bowl, combine the melted butter with the cocoa until smooth.

5) In the mixer, combine the softened butter with the sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla, mix until smooth.

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6) Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

7) Add the cream or milk and mix until smooth. (I prefer milk…why add calories with cream when you can add calories with chocolate chips!)

8) Transfer 1 cup of batter to the bowl with cocoa mix and add chocolate chips. Stir until smooth.

9) Spoon half of the remaining (plain) batter into the pan and smooth out. Spread the chocolate batter in the pan, smooth out, then cover with remaining plain batter.

10) Using a butter knife, cut swirls in the batter.

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Bake the pound cake for 25 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for another 25 minutes.
Cover loosely with foil and bake for a final 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached (as well as a bit of chocolate from the chocolate chips :))
Let the pound cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then unmold and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Here is the final product:

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Not as marbled as I would like, however my husband is now a happy and fed man 🙂

Hope you enjoy!

My partner in crime!!

Although I 100% agree that something’s are better done by hand… I also agree that sometimes you just need a helping hand!

If I can, I will find every way possible for my partner in crime to be used!

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This was a Christmas gift that was given to me by my loving parents… His name is Leroy!

Leroy and I have been through a lot together from freshly kneaded bread dough to over whipped chunky and curdled whipping cream (that was my fault.. Multi-tasking will getcha)

If I had to make one recommendation… It would be that a KitchenAid mixer is a must!!!

Hello baking lovers!

After much debate I have finally decided to start a blog on baking!

I would love to say that my passion for baking started when I was a little girl watching a loved on in the kitchen…but I don’t want to start this off on false pretenses 🙂

I didn’t start to bake until I was all grown up, moved out of my parents house, happily married and discovered that after all of the moving and wedding preparation was a distant memory, I seemed to have a lot of time on my hands!

Now I don’t want to take all of the credit away from my previous generations.. Both of my grandmothers knew their way around the kitchen and were not afraid to stretch out a few 6 foot pieces of home-made phyllo on a Sunday or two!

I LOVE to bake now!
I love the focusing takes, the determination to make it work and the patience that is required…. Something I need severe practice in!

With this blog I will show my progress in baking…failures and all 🙂

Happy blogging!