Homemade Sandwich Bread

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I may never go back to proofing yeast and kneading and punching and kneading some more. Why? Because the Artisan Bread In Five Cookbook has changed the way I bake. I bake in quantity with such ease. I made three loaves of sandwich bread from this 5 minute dough I made yesterday. You simply measure the ingredients, mix it up and let it set on the counter for 2 hours and stick in your fridge. The next day or up to 4 days later, you can make 3-4 loaves or 1 loaf at a time. I’m spoiled.

Because I’m a freezer cook, I always choose the abundance route. I made two loaves and one free form loaf so you could see the process. I sprinkle flour on top of my dough and  visually split the entire amount of dough into thirds. I flour my hands and form them gently into loaves and place them in a sprayed pan or make a cute round loaf. I set mine on parchment paper. I allowed the loaves to rest for 2 hours. The authors suggest at least 1 1/2 hours of resting time. Slash the free form loaf before baking.

Bake at 450 for 45-50 minutes. I brushed mine with honey butter and let them cool in the pans for fifteen minutes and then transferred to a cooling rack. I allowed them to cool completely and then sliced with an electric knife. I have a guide which helps with thin equal slices. A serrated knife will work also. Even when I sliced my bread, it was slightly warm.

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When it’s completely cool, I wrapped in plastic wrap or foil for the freezer. Double wrap in regular foil or slip the loaf into a gallon size bag for extra protection. I reused a store-bought bread bag and we’ll eat this bread in the next 2 days.

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If I don’t have plans for sandwiches in the next 2 days, I freeze mine. Thaw prior 12-24 hours at room temperature prior to making sandwiches, french toast, Pananis and more. Reuse the ends or old bread by grinding in a blender and store in your freezer for fresh bread crumbs. Or cube and toss with olive oil and seasonings and bake to make homemade croutons.

I used the canola oil recipe, but I’ve also used the olive oil recipe. This dough works well for calzones, pizza, stromboli and cinnamon rolls. See Artisan Dough 101 post for a measuring and mixing tutorial.

Imagine having loaves of fresh homemade sandwich bread in your freezer. You might give one away since you’ll have more than one loaf if you attempt this recipe.

Grilled Burgers on Homemade Sandwich Thins

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Do you really think I pat and season six burgers, grill, bake potatoes and make homemade buns all on the same day? I don’t think so. I’ve done my cooking homework and worked smarter, not harder. I made 24 seasoned burgers at one setting last month and I made a dozen sandwich thins several days ago and froze them in a gallon size bag.

Tonight, we had a 15-minute meal. Burgers were grilling, prebaked potatoes were frying for homefries and dinner was served in less than thirty minute. I love freezer cooking when I can eat a healthy meal like this with my family. We sit down and enjoy the fruit of my labor from last month. We talk about what’s going on in school, listen to the baby cackle and coo and try to understand everything  our three year-old is saying. It’s a Brown family moment.

If only the dishes could clean themselves in 15-minutes or less, I’d have it made. We’re working on that one, too, with a family team effort.

How about you? Are you able to enjoy your family? 15-minute meals are a lifesaver. That’s why I freezer cook. What is something you’d like to try to freezer cook? Or what have you cooked and stored in the freezer lately?

This post linked to Frugal Friday and Finer Things Friday.

Artisan Bread Dough 101

 

Are you like the little red hen? Have you always wanted to make homemade bread, but didn’t want to take precious time to savor just one loaf? I’ve discovered an easy dough, mixed in 5 minutes, that makes four loaves of bread and much more. Let me share a 101 tutorial to get you excited and say, “I can do that.”

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First, it’s important for you to remove your flour from the original 5 pound bag. Place it in a canister of some sort. This allows you to stir your flour and do the scoop and sweep method easily without making a mess. Wonderful white whole wheat flours to try are King Arthur white whole wheat or Eagle Mills white whole wheat blend or you can mix unbleached all-purpose and white whole wheat flour half and half in recipes. Regular whole wheat ground from red berries works, but you will have a heavier denser product.

Gently stir your flour with a large spoon and lightly spoon it into your one cup measuring cup. Don’t dip and pack it in. This is where a lot of people make a mistake. When you dip and pack it down, you’re over measuring. Imagine the extra flour you’ve measured when you’ve dipped and packed seven times. Yep, that’s why the product is dry. So, lightly scoop and sweep the excess off with a butter knife.

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Continue measuring all your dry ingredients in this plastic shoe box. For this canola oil recipe, I’ve measured 7 cups of flour, 1-1/2 tablespoons yeast *(2 packages of yeast), 1 tablespoon kosher salt, 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten. Whisk the dry ingredients together.

*I buy my yeast at Sams in bulk, 2lbs for $4. It lasts me over a year. Each pound is vacuum sealed. You can store yeast in the freezer. Ask a friend or neighbor to pick this item up for you if you don’t have a membership. Or split with someone. You’ll be making a lot of bread.

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Another important step is to use your glass measuring cup for liquids. This is the most accurate way to measure liquids. I measure 3-1/2 cups lukewarm water and bend down at eye level to see if the bottom of the liquid touches the 3 -1/2 mark. You’re not going to get an accurate measure if you hold it in the air and look because the water is moving.

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Add this water to your dry ingredients.

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Stir with a large spoon until thoroughly mixed and there are no dry patches. You’re not kneading the dough, only mixing until it’s incorporated.

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Your dough should look sticky, but not dry and not too wet. However, this dough is forgiving, especially if it’s on the wet side. I’ll show you after the rise. Cover it with the lid and allow it to rest at room temperature for two hours.

Your dough will rise after 2 hours and collapse in the fridge. It’s best chilled in the fridge for a few hours before you work with it. I usually let mine sit in the fridge for a day before I make something. You can freeze this dough and thaw 24 hours hour before baking day. I’ve done this and had the same great results. I’ve found my dough to be on the sour side, which some like sourdough, after day five. 100% white whole wheat sours quicker than a mixture of half and half or the Eagle Mills flour. I find the flavor the best within 3 days after the dough is prepared. That is why I usually make all my products at once and then cool and freeze, plus it’s convenient, time and money saving.

Freezing: Dust portions with flour and freeze separately in quart size bags. Thaw 24 hours in the fridge before baking day.

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Your dough will look like this once it’s risen.

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Baking Day: I dust the portion I’m using with flour. If I’m using all the dough, I dust the entire top. If I’m using one portion, 1/3 to 1/4 of a pound, I dust that portion only. I flour my hands and pinch it off. If my dough is on the wet side, I add more flour as necessary. If it’s on the dry side, less flour is needed. The stickiness of the dough depends on the humidity.

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I take the portion I’m using and proceed to quickly shape a round ball and tuck and turn as I go with floured hands. I don’t knead it, simply make it smooth. I put mine on a floured silpat. A piece of parchment or wax paper or tupperware mat works, too. Parchment is handy because it can go straight into the oven. Roll it out into a rectangle if you’re making cinnamon rolls . I bake immediately after I’ve prepared it.

I allow bread loaves to set at room temperature up to 2 hours. The authors of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes, recommends 1-1/2 hours, if you’re making a free form loaf or sandwich loaf.

Check out all the posts on Artisan dough on this site and the different products you can make. I make crusty authentic Artisan bread without the oil, sandwich thins, cinnamon rolls, cinnamon bread, pizza crust, calzones, naan and more. The original cookbook, is available at most public libraries. Also, the author’s website, artisanbreadinfive, is helpful with videos.

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I hope this post inspired you to try this easy 5 minute dough and bake homemade bread. I also hope it inspires you to give a loaf away because you will have three to four loaves when you make this recipe. I’d love to hear your comments and share my experience making this dough for three years.

This post linked to Amy’s Finer Things.

Olive Oil Dipping Sauce like Carrabbas

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Admit it, you could make a meal from Carrabbas fresh-baked bread and the olive oil dipping sauce. Sometimes, we over indulge and we’re too full for the main entrée. Just in case you want to duplicate this scenario at home, here’s the mouth-watering recipe. Of course, you have to make your own Artisan bread to go along with it, so don’t forget to try the Artisan bread in 5 minutes dough, which makes 4 loaves. I told you could over indulge at home;)

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Olive Oil Dipping Sauce

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp. (preferably fresh) ground black pepper
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 Garlic clove, minced or 1 tsp. granulated garlic
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ c. extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients, except oil, on a deep plate or bowl. Pour good quality olive oil over the seasonings.  Serve with fresh-baked Artisan bread like Carrabbas or soft olive oil or canola oil bread.

Or brush the sauce on two halves of french bread. Lightly toast and wrap in foil. Deliver this along with a freezer casserole to someone in need and make them smile.

Chicken Braid from homemade brioche dough

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I’ve discovered the easiest crescent dough ever. It’s made in a plastic shoe box and you don’t even have to knead it. The dough is called brioche and it has all the endless possibilities as regular crescent dough AND it’s freezer friendly. Imagine having this dough available in your fridge at all time, just like Pillsbury crescents. It has a 5 day shelf life unless frozen. I tested the freezer method using 2-1 pound packages. I thawed them the night before I was planning this recipe, chicken braid. It works just like the store-bought seamless crescent roll package.

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I grabbed my bag of convenience chicken and brioche dough from the thawing box in the fridge. I dusted my baking stone and the dough with flour and proceeded to roll it into a flat rectangle. It’s a bit stickier than store-bought, so don’t be afraid to add the flour. Roll with a rolling pin-it’s like play-dough. Have fun.

My filling consisted of  1 1/2 cups of cooked diced chicken, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, 1 cup of cheddar cheese and a small handful of fresh chopped spinach. Broccoli works too, I’ve made it this way. I also added finely diced bell pepper, but the possibilities are endless. Think hot pocket fillings. Or go fancy and use a Pampered Chef recipe (I’ve used the one with the lemon rind and minced garlic before). Notice one side has the spinach and one side doesn’t. My kids oppose spinach so I made theirs with chicken and cheese and added the veggies to the other half in the bowl. The filling goes right down the middle and I cut strips on both sides with a pizza wheel.

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Next, I alternate the strips, just like I do for stromboli. They crisscross one strip at a time. No worries, if you come up odd on one end.

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Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes, depending how much filling you have inside. You want it to be a golden brown and the filling to be nice and hot. Frozen veggies take longer to warm up.

Printable Brioche recipe. You’re on your own for the filling or use my idea above.

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Extra slices can be cooled and plastic wrapped, frozen for future lunches or quick individual dinners. What you don’t have any extra slices? We didn’t because I didn’t make two braids, but next time, I am definitely doing this. I did double bubble and reheat our twice baked potatoes from the freezer while the braid baked-recipe coming soon.

Enjoy a night off if you’ve baked an extra one of these delicious braids. Thaw 24 hours in the fridge and reheat in foil for 20-30 minutes. Enjoy with a bagged salad or deliver this unique meal to someone. Do you have some filling ideas for a chicken braid? We’d love to hear them.

Cinnamon Bread made from Olive Oil Artisan Dough

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We ate our 48 cinnamon rolls in a flash and now it’s time to make cinnamon bread (my freezer cooking classes did assist). I made two loaves using the olive oil Artisan dough or you can choose to use canola oil, any neutral flavored oil will work. I used a quicker method of allowing the dough to come to room temperature. I divided my dough in three portions because I made two bread loaves and a Stromboli at the same time.  I rolled it out and decorated it with cinnamon and honey. I allowed my raisins to soak in water to plump up (per my friend’s suggestion) while the dough was resting. I made one with raisins and one without.

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It’s very much like the cinnamon roll procedure. I sprinkled it with 2 teaspoons cinnamon and drizzled it with honey. But you go ahead and use what you like, brown sugar and cinnamon or raw sugar or white sugar and cinnamon. They’re all good–use what  you have. Once the dough rested, I rolled it up and pinched the side and placed it into a greased loaf pan. I just sprayed mine with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for about 45-50 minutes or until golden brown. Smaller or larger loaf pans will require baking time adjustments. Allow the loaf to cool for ten minutes in the pan and then remove and cool on a rack.

Cool completely before slicing and use a serrated knife if possible. Electric knives work great. I wrap an entire loaf in plastic wrap and then I place one or two loaves in a gallon size bag (which is reusable). Thaw room temperature 12-24 hours. Reheat in the microwave for a soft texture or toast in a toaster oven or toaster. Yum. I’m reminiscing now.

Freeze a whole loaf for a future meal or give away in a clear cellophane bag tied with a grosgrain ribbon. Allow someone else to enjoy the fruit of your “five minute dough” labor.

What baked items do you like to give away?

Pepperoni and Cheese Stromboli Slices for the freezer

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I used to love hot pockets during my college days. They were so convenient and tasted good–to a college student. Have you ever noticed no matter what variety you buy, it still tastes the same? Maybe it’s the crust or the same ingredients except for the meat that made them taste similar. Regardless, they were convenient and I bought them for quick lunches.

Now that I’ve grown up a bit, I’m venturing out to make adult convenience lunches with whole foods. I’ve adapted this idea using the artisan dough made with olive or canola oil-you choose your own bread base. Preheat oven to 350. Dust a stone or unrimmed cookie sheet with cornmeal. 

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I spread tomato sauce sprinkled with italian seasoning-about 1 tsp. and garlic powder-about 1/2 tsp.( you can use 1/2 cup of your favorite pizza or pasta sauce) down the middle and top it with 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, turkey pepperoni slices and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Next comes the fun part. It looks complicated, but it’s not. It looks prettier than folding over the entire crust and pinching it closed and it’s just as easy. I cut strips on both sides of the filling trying to keep the cuts even on both sides. A large pizza wheel works like a charm for this procedure.

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Then you angle each strip over the filling crossing the opposite strip as you go. Keep alternating strips until you are at the end. Doesn’t it look fancy? Bake this stromboli for about 30 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from stone/pan and place slice into 2-inch slices with the pizza wheel.

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Transfer to a cooling rack and allow the slices to completely cool. This may take up to thirty minutes.

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Wrap each slice in plastic wrap and place in a gallon size bag for your freezer. I throw one in husband’s lunch when we’ve eaten out the night before or we don’t have any leftovers. It’s thawed enough by lunch to microwave one to two minutes (without plastic wrap)

You could double this recipe and make two stromboli- for dinner and one for convenient lunches or make an adult version with black olives, thinly sliced Roma tomatoes, diced peppers and onions or mushrooms and save the plain one for the kiddos. Think pizza toppings. I made two loaves of cinnamon bread at the same time so I was still double bubbling in my oven.

Printable Pepperoni and Cheese Stromboli is linked to Tasty Tuesday. Don’t forget to print your dough recipe-olive oil or canola and use it for more delicious items besides stromboli. Try pizza, cinnamon rolls or bread, sandwich thins, calzones or flatbread.

Imagine receiving a homemade stromboli at your door with a bag salad. What is your favorite stromboli? Maybe someone will bring you one now that they know how easy it is.

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