We”ve all come down with a really nasty cold/flu so I”m going to keep this post short and sweet. If you haven”t got a starter going already you may want to get on it right away because these rolls are like big soft pillows of goodness and if you haven”t had them your missing out. I would say that I want to stick them under my head and have the best nap of my life but they”re so fluffy they would disappear under the pressure. The flavour is sweet and mild with the slight tang of sourdough. Absolutely delicious!
There”s molasses in the dough which I think adds a nice richness but you don”t actually taste it, so if you don”t care for the flavour of molasses don”t let it stop you from making these rolls. Please!
These are great sandwich rolls. We had them with tuna salad and cucumbers the next day and the combination was perfect. The rolls are just a tad bit sweet which complimented the tuna perfectly. Plus they”re just so airy that the filling really shines. But I”ve also been eating them straight from the freezer, zapped in the microwave with just a pat of butter. Mmm.. good.
Sprinkle yeast over warm water and let proof for 10 minutes. Stir in starter, honey, molasses, egg and butter. Beat in 2 cups flour, oats, salt and baking soda until well combined. Beat and knead in remaining flour until the dough is tacky but not sticky (it should be quite elastic but not get stuck to your finger when you press into it). Place in a greased bowl. Cover and place in an oven that has been preheated to the lowest setting (you can shut it off once it”s preheated). This is to ensure that the dough warms up from the cold starter and that it rises beautifully. Let rise until double (approximately 1 hour).
Divide dough into 12-24 rolls depending on the size you want (12 for very large sandwich rolls, 18 for medium sized sandwich rolls and 24 for small dinner rolls). Place on greased or parchment lined baking pans. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until double (about 1 hour).
Bake at 400ºF for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to cooling racks or paper towel to cool.
Makes: 12-24 rolls
* A trick that I do to make sure that my buns are cooked through is to flip them over and tap the bottom. If they sound hollow they”re done!
There”s something just so satisfying about making yeast breads from scratch. The grocery stores here have such a great selection of fresh artisan breads that I don”t make it nearly so much as I would back home. Because of that, when I do make bread from scratch I generally like to make kinds that I can”t get at the store.
Soughdough has to be one of the more satisfying breads to make especially if you make your own starter. It sounds so much more intimidating then it actually is (if you”ve got a good starter that is). I used to make sourdough years ago but the starter recipe I used was so finicky and always died on me. Having to start it over all the time kind of defeated the purpose since starters develop better and stronger flavor as they age. This recipe inspired me to try again because the process just made sense and it seemed so simple. And it is!
I have a bit of a black thumb when it comes to taking care of living organisms. Everything just seems to die at my fingertips (besides my children!). I have a plant in my house that doesn”t need any watering and it still dies on me (I keep buying a new one) my hubby has had the same one at his office that he completely neglects and it still lives on. So I would consider this a very hardy no-fail recipe because it”s living on good and strong!
Making and maintaining a starter is quite simple to do. I love the fact that you can have fresh bread as often as you like or you can leave the starter sitting in the fridge for when you have more time. You”ll want to make this starter today because in a couple days I”ll be sharing a delicious recipe for the Oatmeal Sourdough Rolls hiding in the photo above and you”re going to want to make them right away!
Making the Starter
2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar or honey
1 tablespoon active dry east
2 cups all purpose-flour
Pour water into a 3-4 quart bowl* (the bowl needs to be large so that the starter has room to grow. It will expand a lot.). Add sugar or honey. Stir to dissolve. Add yeast and stir. Gradually stir in flour until smooth. Cover with a clean dishtowel** and set aside in a warm area of the kitchen.***
Let sit for 2-5 days, stirring once a day because the alcohol will separate from the batter. Once the bubbling has subsided and a sour aroma has developed stir one more time then transfer to a large sealable container and store in the fridge. The batter should be similar to pancake batter (mine was a lot thinner but once I fed it later on it thickened up again).
*a ceramic or glass bowl is best, but I used a plastic bowl with no problems.
**using a dishtowel instead of plastic wrap helps you to catch wild yeast which improves flavour.
***I was a little worried because it was really cold in my kitchen when I made my starter, but it turned out fine.
Maintaining the Starter
You can use the starter as often as you like in baking but if you don”t bake with it within two weeks you”ll want to remove one cup and discard it.
For every one cup of starter removed stir in:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup water
Let sit at room temperature for at least 12 hours before returning to the fridge so that the yeast has time to activate and multiply before it”s chilled again.
If you forget to feed it after two weeks don’t worry. Give it a good feeding and let sit out to warm up. If it bubbles your good to go. If you forget about it for months you can still try to revive it by giving it a good feeding and it’s probably best to give it two feeding in a row.
Make sure to stir your starter before baking or removing some for feeding.
The alcohol on top may become very dark. That’s ok.
Happy Easter! How’s everyones Easter planning coming along? Things are going to be very quiet for us again this year. In Norway everyone gets off Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. Even the grocery stores are closed so any last minute shopping will have to be done on Saturday. The whole city get’s very quiet over the weekend because many people head up to their cabins in the mountains for one last skiing holiday.
I still haven’t planned an Easter menu and I’m trying to decide if it’s worth it for just my little family or if we’ll have something a little less traditional. But, I did have fun making these scalloped potatoes and dreaming of my family back home gathered around the table with the smell of cooked ham wafting through the air. Mmmm..
“My apartment has a teeny tiny kitchen and in that kitchen is an even teenier tinier oven. It’s a good thing the apartment is small over all because cooking for a crowd is nearly impossible. That’s why on special occasions, such as Easter, I have to be very particular about the side dishes I make because if I’ve got a ham in the oven there is absolutely no room for anything else. So, pretty much anything that needs to be baked in the oven for a long period of time is out of the question.”
These just might make it back onto our Easter menu because not only are they delicious they can be made to feed as little as four people. Meaning there won’t be excessive amounts of leftovers. Yay!
What’s on your menu this year?
Update: The post is no longer active on Smithfield. But, I don’t want you to miss out so here’s the recipe!
Cheesy Stove Top Scalloped Potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
1.5 cup shredded cheese, divided
1.5 pounds potatoes, thinly sliced
Melt butter in a small non-stick skillet. Add flour. Cook and stir for one minute. Slowly pour in chicken broth, mixing well after each addition. Bring to a boil. Stir in 1 cup of cheese until blended. Add potatoes. Toss to coat. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until a fork inserted into the potatoes is easily removed. Top with cheese and simmer uncovered for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Sauce will thicken as it cools.
* A crust will develop along the bottom of the skillet, but that’s my favorite part. It will come off easily if you are using a non-stick skillet.
* If you want a caramelized top you can stick it under the broiler for a couple of minutes (if the handle is oven proof).
* Feel free to cook some onion and garlic in the butter before adding the flour for added flavor. Or add you favorite herbs and spices to the sauce.
I got the sudden urge to decorate sugar cookies last week. As you can see I got as far as making the cookies. :) But that was fun in and of itself. I did make one batch of the glaze and got approximately five cookies done before Max had already decorated (read: eaten) three cookies and Alli woke up wanting some attention. So I put that idea behind me and decided to freeze the rest in case the time ever came that I was able to decorate again (I am in no way a super mom and I’m ok with that).
help roll out dough
cut out shapes
older kids can decorate with icing bags
younger kids can spread the glaze on the cookies and decorate with sprinkles
I’m not usually a fan of sugar cookies. But these I can actually eat on their own without icing. I’m really into tea lately and these cookies are a perfect accompaniment to that.
These are the easiest sugar cookies I have ever made. Sugar cookies aren’t all that hard to make but there’s generally a lot of waiting time for the dough to chill before rolling, then trying to roll out a stiff dough or wait for it to soften before you roll it out. Simple enough really but it’s enough to stop me from making them on a whim. These cookies on the other hand were whipped up and baked in the time it took for James and Max to go grocery shopping. They left. I got the urge to bake. They came back. Half the cookies were baked and cooling on the counter while the remainder were in the fridge awaiting their turn in the oven.
The key to these cookies being able to be made so last minute is the fact that you don’t have to soften the butter. Cold butter means there’s no chill time before rolling it out which cuts the prep time down considerably. Plus they roll out like a dream. I made the original cookies at Christmas this year and knew they would be my sugar cookie of choice from then on.
I wanted the flavours to suite Easter so I opted to add some grated lemon zest to the dough. Delish!
Tips to Perfect Sugar Cookies
I’m no expert on sugar cookies but I do know a couple tricks to get them nearly perfect every time. At least it works for me!
Roll Out on Parchment Paper. Rolling the dough out on a floured piece of parchment paper means less flour is used (meaning softer cookies) and easier transportation to the baking sheet (which means less stretching and breaking).
Refrigerate Before Baking. Since this recipe is not refrigerated before rolling out you want to be sure to refrigerate it once the shapes are cut. That way it keeps it’s form and doesn’t spread.
Chill Before Cutting Out Delicate Pieces. If you’re wanting to make smaller cutouts in the cookie (like I did with the flowers) do so after they have chilled in the fridge, just before baking. This way you don’t have to worry about any delicate parts breaking when you transfer it to the baking sheet and it will hold it’s shape better.
The glaze for these cookies is lemony and sweet. Much sweeter then royal icing. You can’t really compare the two but it is much easier to make and decorates beautifully (just look at Amanda’s cookies). But, as I said it is very sweet so if you’re worried about that you may want to stick with royal icing.
Easy Lemon Sugar Cookies
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup cold salted butter, cubed
1 teaspoon vanilla
zest of one lemon
Combine flour and baking powder.
In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add egg, vanilla and zest. Mix until incorporated.
Add flour in three additions, scraping down as you go. Beat until combined (will be crumbly).
Divide dough in half to roll out. Knead each piece on counter top until smooth. Roll out on floured parchment paper. Cut into shapes. Place on parchment lined baking sheet. Freeze for 5 minutes (or refrigerate for 15 minutes) to firm up.
Bake @ 350 for 10-12 minutes. Let sit for 2 minutes before removing to wire rack or paper towel to cool.
Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies
Lemony Sugar Cookie Glaze
1 cup icing sugar
1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon corn syrup
Sift sugar into a bowl. Mix in lemon juice and corn syrup. Spread or pipe onto cookies.
Tip: If piping onto cookies check the consistency by doing the 10 second ribbon test. Drag a knife through the glaze and lift to make a ribbon. It should smooth out in 5-10 seconds. If the icing comes together before 5 seconds add more sugar. If the glaze comes together after 10 seconds add more liquid. This will ensure that it is firm enough to pipe but still loose enough to flood the cookie.
I“ve been dreaming about this ice cream for a long time. I”ve seen the idea of pureeing frozen bananas and turning them into ice cream quite a bit around the web and I had to give it a try to see if it was actually true. Could pureed frozen bananas really have the same texture and feel of ice cream?
In one word. Yes!
“It is amazing what happens to a banana once it is frozen and pureed. It becomes, remarkably, a lot like ice cream. Your kids will feel like they”re getting an extra special treat in the middle of the day, but really they”ll be eating fruit. Even when I”m eating this I have to remind myself that it”s not ice cream. The texture of the banana as it “melts” in your mouth is not unlike the silky texture of custard.”
Now that spring is around the corner the fruits will be plentiful and begging to be used in our favourite desserts. I love making crisps because they’re so easy to throw together and the flavour of the fruit always shines through. I came across a crisp recipe a year or so ago that has been my go to for all my crisp toppings. In fact I like to make dry batches and keep them on hand so that if I have some fruit that needs using up or we’re just in the mood for a crisp, I can whip one up with even less hassle. It stays true to it’s name and stays nice and crisp for days after. With the crunch of walnuts and warmth of cinnamon I could seriously eat the topping all on it’s own.
The weather has been so glorious this week. It actually feels like spring! These warmer days and melting snow can’t help but lift your spirits. Max has been enjoying splashing in the puddles and streams that are flowing down the hills. And, I’m enjoying getting out of the house. Can you say cabin fever!
I’m also enjoying being in the kitchen more. I strap Alli in her baby carrier, put some music on for Max to dance to and get to work. The rocking motion and occasional hip wiggle seems to lull her to sleep. This week the weather inspired me to get in the kitchen and make my favourite Rhubarb Crisp.
Rhubarb will be starting to make it’s appearance soon in most of the world. Here we don’t get it until the beginning of the summer so I used up the last of the stuff that I froze in August. It definitely got me in the mood for Spring. And, now I can’t wait to see the fresh stalks at the grocers again.