Bread for the pandemic as baking gains in popularity

Flour and yeast are hot commodities these days. It’s nice to see that everyone is at home baking. I thought you might like a few recipes to add to your repertoire. I have used these many times and I love them.

Cheddar Beer Bread Buns

The recipe suggests pale ale but I have used stout and it was delicious. These remain moist for a few days.

  • 6 c. bread flour, plus more for work surface 1.5 L
  • 1 tbsp. instant yeast 15 mL
  • 2 tsp. coarse kosher salt 10 mL
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided 60 mL
  • 1/4 c. honey 60 mL
  • 2 c. beer, such aspale ale 500 mL
  • 1 3/4 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese 425 mL

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine bread flour, yeast, salt, two tablespoons (30 mL) softened butter, honey and beer.

Mix on low speed for four minutes. The dough should come together around the dough hook. Increase speed slightly and continue to mix for two minutes more, occasionally stopping to scrape the dough from the hook. Add one cup (250 mL) of the cheddar cheese and mix until incorporated, 30 seconds to one minute.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until nearly double in size, about one hour.

Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch (22 cm by 33 cm) pan. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 24 even pieces. Gently round each piece of dough into a ball, and place into the prepared pan. The rolls may not touch now, but they will fill in the gaps when they rise and bake.

Cover the pan with a kitchen towel and let the rolls rise for 35 to 45 minutes, until they look visibly puffy. Toward the end of rise time, heat the oven to 400 F (200 C). Brush the rolls with two tablespoons (30 mL) melted butter, and top each roll with one tablespoon (15 mL) of the remaining cheddar, being careful to keep the cheese away from the edges of the pan.

Bake the rolls until golden brown, and the cheese on top is melted and browned, 17 to 22 minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving. Makes 24 dinner size buns.

Focaccia

  • 1 3/4 c. warm water 425 mL
  • 1 pkg. active dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp. sugar 15 mL
  • 5 c. all-purpose flour 1.25 L
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt 15 mL
  • 1 c. extra virgin olive oil, divided 250 mL

Combine the warm water, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let sit until the yeast is bubbling, about 15 minutes.

Then add in this order, salt, 1/2 cup (125 mL) olive oil and the flour. Using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed. Once the dough has come together, continue to knead for about five minutes on a slightly higher speed until it becomes smooth and soft.

Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly floured surface and knead one or two times.

Coat the inside of the mixer bowl lightly with olive oil and return the dough to the bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, at least one hour.

Turn out the dough onto a countertop. Do not add flour if it is sticky. Put a few drops of olive oil on the countertop and your hands if it is sticky.

Gently knead to bring it together. At this time the entire amount of dough can be pressed into a 12-by-18 inch (30 cm by 45 cm) baking sheet. Or if you want smaller, individual focaccia, cut the dough into two or three pieces and press or roll it into an oval.

Use the balance of the olive oil in the bottom of the sheet pan and turn the dough over so that both sides are well coated. With your fingers, press dimples into the breads. Press hard enough to push right through to the pan.

Top with a very coarse sea salt.

Let it rise again in a warm place until puffy, about one hour.

Bake at 425 F (220 C) for 20 minutes.

Flatbread

The dough can be made ahead and refrigerated. It keeps for about three days.

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour, plus 1/4 c. for rolling the flatbreads 500 mL, 60 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 1/4 c. butter 60 mL
  • 3/4 c. milk 185 mL
  • 1/2 tbsp. oil 22 mL

Combine butter and milk and heat until butter is just melted.

Measure flour and salt into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Add milk and butter and stir to combine.

Sprinkle work surface with flour, scrape the dough onto the work surface and then knead for a few minutes until it is smooth. It doesn’t need much kneading. Add extra flour if the dough is too sticky.

Wrap with cling wrap and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes or so.

Dust countertop with flour, cut dough into eight pieces, form into balls, then roll out into about 1/8 inch (0.3 cm) thick, or as thin as you can manage, rounds. Chill flatbreads for an hour and roll again before frying. Separate each with a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper.

Heat a non-stick or cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Add a few drops of olive oil before frying each flatbread.

Place one flatbread in the pan at a time, cook for around one to 1-1/2 minutes. It should bubble up then flip and cook the other side, pressing down if it puffs up. There should be smallish golden brown spots on both sides.

Stack the cooked bread and keep wrapped with a tea towel. The moisture helps soften the surface, making them even more pliable.

Brush or spray bread with olive oil or melted butter, for a more luxurious finish.

Angel biscuits

If you do not have buttermilk in the kitchen, you can substitute one cup (250 mL) milk with one tablespoon (15 mL) of white vinegar or lemon juice added. Let sit 10 minutes and it will thicken.

  • 1 pkg. dry yeast,
  • about 2 1/4 tsp. 6 mL
  • 1/2 c. warm water 125 mL
  • 5 c. all-purpose flour 1.25 L
  • 1/4 c. sugar 60 mL
  • 1 tsp. baking powder 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. salt 5 mL
  • 1/2 c. vegetable
  • shortening 125 mL
  • 2 c. low-fat
  • buttermilk 500 mL
  • cooking spray
  • 1 tbsp. butter, melted 15 mL

Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup (125 mL) warm water in a small bowl, and let stand for five minutes.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next four ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender or two knives, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add yeast mixture and buttermilk to flour mixture. Stir just until moist. Cover and chill one hour.

Preheat oven to 450 F (230 C).

Turn the dough out onto a heavily floured surface. Knead lightly five times. Roll dough to a 1/2-inch (1.25 cm) thickness. Cut into rounds with a 2-1/2-inch (seven cm) biscuit cutter. Place the biscuits on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Brush the melted butter over the biscuit tops.

Bake at 450 F (230 C) for 12 minutes or until golden. Makes two dozen.

Angel biscuit cinnamon buns

  • Sticky topping
  • 1/2 c. butter, melted 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. packed
  • brown sugar 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. golden corn syrup 125 mL
  • Filling
  • 2/3 c. packed brown
  • sugar 150 mL
  • 2 tbsp. cinnamon 30 mL
  • 1/2 c. golden
  • corn syrup 125 mL

Prepare a 9-by-13 inch (22 cm x 33 cm) baking pan by lining with parchment paper or greasing it with butter. Add the sticky topping ingredients to the pan. Set aside.

Make as above and roll dough to 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) thickness and into a large rectangle. Add the filling. Roll tightly from the long end. Cut into two-inch (5 cm) pieces and place in prepared pan.

Bake in a 375 F (190 C) oven until browned, about 20 minutes. While still warm invert the pan of buns onto a cutting board or tray so that all the sticky topping comes out of the pan.

Sarah Galvin is a home economist, teacher and farmers’ market vendor at Swift Current, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. She writes a blog at allourfingersinthepie.blogspot.ca. Contact: team@producer.com.

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