My Foray Into Food Storage

A regular gal learning about Food Storage, Home Cooking, Canning, Gardening, and more!

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New, Improved, Super Easy Homemade White Bread!

When do I ever leave well enough alone? If you ask my kids, they would tell you, “Never.” Sometimes messing with something truly destroys it, but, other times, it is so much better!

That’s the case with my homemade white bread. I started with a really great recipe from a friend and tweaked it to my family’s tastes. I posted that recipe with a step by step hereI tweaked it again and did a cost analysis for you (homemade versus store bought bread) and posted it here.

I kept tweaking the recipe and have received many compliments, including one from my sister who said it was the best bread she’s eaten. So, without further ado, here’s my updated white bread recipe.

 

 

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Easy, Peasy Bread by Laurie Nguyen (2 1-lb loaves)

Adapted from “Pound-It-Bread” by Joan Miller

 

1 ½ cup lukewarm water

2 T active dry yeast

½ cup granulated sugar

1 cup evaporated milk (can use regular milk, half-n-half, or cream)

1 T white vinegar

2 T (salted) butter, melted

2 t salt

1 ½ T dough enhancer

¼ cup vital wheat gluten (gluten flour)

5 ½ cups bread flour

 

Add sugar and yeast to water. Stir and let sit until yeast blooms (looks bubbly). Add vinegar to evaporated milk and let sit until yeast is ready. Stir water/yeast mixture again and pour into a mixing bowl along with evaporated milk/vinegar mixture. Add melted butter, and all dry ingredients.

 

Mix on low until a dough forms, then let your mixer “knead” the dough for a few minutes until it looks smooth. Dump onto a floured counter and divide dough into two equal pieces. Let dough rest/rise for 20+ minutes. After resting, pound each piece of dough for one minute (with a rolling pin), then form into a loaf and put in a greased loaf pan (8×4 to 9×5 size pan). Let rise until the dough is about 1 inch over the pan’s edge.

 

Place in a preheated 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. Cover with foil and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the bread is done. Remove from oven, then remove bread from pan and let it cook on a rack. You can cut it right away, but the slices will not be even, and your bread will get crushed. If you can wait until it’s completely cool, your slices will look a lot better and be more even.

 

 

 

In my family, the first loaf goes SUPER fast!  The second loaf lasts a little longer, but, often, by the time we finish it, it’s a bit stale and not so yummy anymore.  When I bought my larger loaf pans (my ode to my lovely new pans here), I decided to adapt my recipe to make one slightly larger loaf rather than two smaller loafs.  See the difference between the two pans?

 

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If you have large bread pans, you may want to use this version of the recipe.

 

Easy, Peasy Bread by Laurie Nguyen (1 larger loaf for a 10×5 pan)

Adapted from “Pound-It-Bread” by Joan Miller

 

1 cup lukewarm water

1 T active dry yeast

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup evaporated milk (can use regular milk, half-n-half, or cream)

2 t white vinegar

1 1/3 T (salted) butter, melted

1 1/3 t salt

1 T dough enhancer

2 T plus 2 t vital wheat gluten (gluten flour)

3 cups bread flour plus a little more (usually less than ¼ cup)

 

 

Same instructions as recipe above, except that this makes one loaf. Don’t divide when you put it on the counter to rest.

 

 

 

So, what do you think?  Have you thought about making your own homemade, sandwich bread?  If so, please try my recipe and let me know what you think!

 

Or, if you have your own favorite recipe, I’d love it if you shared it with me and my readers!

 

In pursuit of the perfect Valentine's Day cinnamon roll.


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WARNING! It’s Valentine’s Day & I’m Getting Fancy!

I am not a “fancy” person.  While I like dressing up and attending formal events on occasion, I am a pretty regular gal.  I rarely do fancy things for holidays, other than making a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving, so it must be a super, special occasion or I’ve had a rare, but sudden, burst of inspiration if I make something fancy and pretty.

 

While Valentine’s Day is not my favorite holiday, I had the aforementioned sudden burst of inspiration and decided to make heart shaped goodies: cinnamon rolls and brownies. The brownies are easy enough.  I’m simply using a heart shaped cookie cutter once my made from a mix brownies have cooled.

 

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The cinnamon rolls are a different story. I made my favorite cinnamon rolls (recipe here) and attempted to rolls my cinnamon rolls into hearts. Take a gander.

 

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How did I do this? It was quite simple. Instead of rolling the dough into one big cylinder, I rolled in from parallel edges, forming two cylinders, until they met in the center. Then I cut them into 1 inch pieces.

 

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After removing a piece from the counter, I formed it into a heart by pinching the bottom into a v-shape, like so.

 

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And how did these babies turn out?  Well,  results were mixed.  See?

 

The one on the right looks just how I imagined.  The one on the left?  Not so much, but both taste so yummy that I can overlook any flaws in appearance!

The one on the right looks just how I imagined. The one on the left? Not so much, but both taste so yummy that I can overlook any flaws in appearance!

 

Lesson learned, I still don’t do fancy.  :)

Do you?  Any disaster stories you’d care to share?

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Yay for New Pans! Yuck to cleaning the cupboards to make them fit…

Now, what does cleaning my cupboards have to do with Food Storage?  Well, without some organizational system, I cannot find the pan I need when I need to use it!  And I made it worse by buying some new bake ware! After almost 25 years of marriage,  it was time. I bought some of my old pans at the dollar store (when dollar stores first came on the scene, and they had some pretty incredible stuff) maybe 20 years ago. Many were worn from years of use.

 

Being a frugal gal (not cheap, there’s a difference. I will pay for quality.), I didn’t set out to replace all my pans at once. The thought first entered my mind when I had problems making some quick bread for a friend’s son’s wedding reception. No matter what I did (using Pam, greasing the pan liberally), I couldn’t get the loaves out in one piece. It was frustrating to say the least. Then and there, I decided that I needed a couple of nonstick loaf pans.

 

I did a lot of research and decided that I wanted heavy-duty, commercial bakery type pans. I’d narrowed it down to two brands: USA Pan and Chicago Metallic. Both have great reviews, so I bit the bullet and bought a couple of larger non-stick loaf pans.  I bought 10 inch x5 inch USA Pans (you can view one here).  They make the perfect size bread loaf for my family.

 

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After falling in love with them, I bought some USA Pan and Chicago Metallic mini loaf pans (with an Amazon gift card I earned through MyPoints.com). And aren’t they lovely?? Especially compared to my old pans which were looking pretty sad. See?  (I sprayed them with non-stick spray, and the pans are so non-stick without the spray, I’m not sure I needed it.)  Think those look snazzy?  Check them out here and here on Amazon!

 

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Today, I made chocolate chip pumpkin bread to break them in (recipe here). The loaves came out of the pan so easily! I’m very happy!  (And my boys are begging me to cut the pumpkin bread!)

 

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I’m also very happy, because I cleaned out my kitchen cupboards and got rid of some old things which were gathering dust. Take a look at my organized cupboards now!!

 

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I didn’t take before shots, but trust me, it’s a major improvement! And isn’t that life? A constant rearranging and reorganization of everything.  Not just my kitchen, but my everything!  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.  It keeps things fresh.  Life is a work in progress, and I love it!

 

How about things for you? Any kitchen pans or gadgets you want to add to your inventory? Or is there a closet, cupboard, or storage area that needs your attention? Please share!

 

 

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