Pretzel Rolls for Sandwiches to Look Forward To

Pretzel Rolls_n

Chewy and deliciously salty, these pretzel rolls are ready for turkey sandwiches, complete with deli mustard and homemade ginger-pear cranberry sauce.

While most people roast a turkey for Thanksgiving or Christmas, Jack and I decided to make a turkey for going back to work after our winter break. We have plenty of recipes stockpiled for tasty meals featuring leftover roasted turkey. These pretzel rolls make lunchtime sandwiches something to look forward to.

Bread Machine Pretzel Rolls

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • coarse sea salt
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 16 cups water

Directions

  1. Place first 5 ingredients into baking pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Insert pan into the oven chamber. Select dough cycle.
  2. Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface.
  3. Divide dough into 8 pieces.
  4. Roll dough in to balls. Flatten slightly and let rest while you prepare pretzel bath.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. In a large pot, boil 16 cups water and salt.
  7. When water is boiling, stir in baking soda.
  8. Place 4 dough balls in boiling water for 30 seconds. Flip dough balls and continue to boil for 30 more seconds. Remove from water with slotted spoon and place on parchment-lined baking sheet.
  9. Repeat with remaining 4 dough balls.
  10. Sprinkle each roll with coarse salt.
  11. Slice two slashes into each roll with a very sharp knife.
  12. Bake rolls for 20 minutes. Pretzels are finished when they are a rich dark brown.
  13. Let cool for a couple of minutes on baking sheet. Finish cooling on wire rack.

Cherry Almond Bagels

Cherry almond bagel_n

Laced with the essence of cherry and the crunch of toasted almonds, these bagels were chewy perfection waiting for a favorite schmear, cheese or creamy nut spread .

Every week or so I make a batch of yogurt for our breakfasts. Usually there’s nothing to it: I a bit of the previously made yogurt as the starter for the next batch, and in this way yogurt begets yogurt. And even though I use powdered milk (a blend of whole and nonfat) the flavor is excellent.

The ability to easily whip up a batch of yogurt from powdered milk is handy since our little Native store in the Arctic bush doesn’t stock plain yogurt and since milk goes for about four times what it does in places connected by roads. But last week, something strange happened. The yogurt came out, for lack of a better word, weird. It separated into yogurt and way too much whey. The yogurt tasted fine, but the consistency was off-putting. Always loathe to toss out food, I strained the entire batch through cheesecloth overnight, hoping for yogurt cheese. The next morning, we had a taste and agreed it had turned out delicious. So, add another culinary feat to the list: homemade yogurt cheese.

At this point, we needed bagels.

This week’s cherry almond bagels were inspired by our desire to spread yogurt cheese onto a bagel leaning slightly more toward sweet than savory. Dried cherries and almond extract seemed like a perfect combination to mix into the bagel dough. A 20 minute baking time is just right to toast the almond slices which added a very satisfying crunch to each bite – and no, the almond slices did not crumble off; they adhered quite well and were there till the last bite. These bagels are the sweet counterpart to savory favorites such as onion bagels or “everything” bagels.

Cherry Almond Bagels

Ingredients

  • 1  1/2 cups water
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp almond extract
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
  • 3 quarts boiling water
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • sliced almonds for topping

Directions

  1. Place first 7 ingredients into bread machine pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough setting.
  2. When cycle is complete, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and let rest.
  3. Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add 3 tbsp of sugar.
  4. While water is coming to a boil, cut dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Flatten balls into discs about 1/2 inch thick. Poke a hole in each disc and twirl the disk around your finger to enlarge the hole. Place bagels back on the lightly floured surface to rest until the water boils.
  5. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  7. When water is boiling, place bagels in water. Boil for 1 minute, then flip to boil for an additional minute. (I fit 4 bagels at a time in my pot.)
  8. After bagels have boiled, remove them from the water with a slotted spoon or strainer spoon made for frying. Place bagels on a clean, dry towel.
  9. Arrange bagels on baking sheet. Brush tops of bagels with beaten egg. Sprinkle with sliced almonds.
  10. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until well browned.

Try bagels 3 ways if you’d rather have a savory version.

Pesto Pine Nut Bread

pesto bread_n

Pesto gives this bread a subtle tint with basil speckles, the aroma of parmesan and a pleasant pine nut crunch. 

A previous version of this bread I made was really tasty, but I wanted more pizzazz. So I upped the amount of pesto and added additional chopped pine nuts for more flavor and a subtle layer of texture. The mixture went into my Zojirushi bread machine and came out with the desired taste and texture but still light and airy. It was so tempting, half the loaf didn’t survive till the photo shoot!

Pesto Pine Nut Bread Machine Loaf

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup prepared pesto sauce
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup chopped pine nuts

Directions

  1. Place ingredients in bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Start machine.
  2. Remove baked loaf at the end of cycle and cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before slicing.

Crunchy, Soft Bolillos

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Like miniature baguettes (each loaf is about five inches long), a bag of freshly baked bolillos from our Arctic bakery is ready to be made into tasty sandwiches or sliced and toasted with olive oil and garlic.

When we return to the road system each summer, we keep a keen eye out for new food ideas to take back to our kitchen in the Arctic bush. This summer, we rediscovered torta sandwiches, prompting me to make a mental note to bake bolillos when we returned to Point Hope.

Bolillos have their roots in Mexico where they are the main ingredient in molettes and tortas – lightly toasted bread topped with cheese (or olive oil and garlic) and sandwiches, respectively. Armed with many tasty sandwich ingredients in our bush pantry – garbanzos for hummus, home-canned smoked salmon, caribou and even duck eggs (for a twist on tortas de huevo) – I looked forward to trying my hand at bolillos for our lunch-time sandwiches. Based on several recipes I found on the Internet, I adapted the recipe below for my Zojirushi bread machine. This bread machine provides yeast with the perfect environment so that dough rises evenly and consistently in our Arctic home.

Bolillos

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 tsp cornstarch

Directions

  1. Place first 6 ingredients into bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer.
  2. Set on dough cycle. Start machine.
  3. Dough should be smooth, soft and elastic. Adjust amount of flour or water if needed.
  4. Punch down dough and knead briefly on a lightly floured surface.
  5. Divide dough into 10 pieces and roll into balls.
  6. Work dough balls with palms of your hands to form ovals, about 5″ long and 2″ wide in the center. Ends should be tapered.
  7. Place rolls on parchment-lined baking sheets. Cover and let rise for about 25 minutes. Rolls should double in size.
  8. Preheat oven to 365 degrees F.
  9. Mix cold water and cornstarch in a small pot.
  10. Heat mixture to boiling, stirring constantly. Mixture should be thick and clear, about 2 minutes.
  11. Brush each roll with cornstarch mixture.
  12. Slash each roll down the middle, cutting about 1/2″ deep.
  13. Bake rolls for about 30 minutes. Rolls are done when they are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.
  14. Cool on wire racks.

Easy Wheat Bread with Complex Flavors of Coffee, Cocoa and Honey

brown wheat_n

Tasty wheat bread with subtle flavors of coffee and chocolate goes well with both savory and sweet accompaniments.

While the all-purpose flour stores in our pantry are diminishing, we still have an abundance of wheat flour. The exceptional wheat bread we made earlier this year was fabulous, but it is time and labor intensive. This weekend called for a loaf with more “auto-pilot” in the directions – and more of the work being done by our trusty Zojirushi bread machine. We found a well-reviewed recipe that included wheat flour. After sampling a slice of the finished product with butter and honey, we both agreed it was a delicious addition to our bread rotation.

Infused Wheat Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp coffee extract
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp yeast

Directions

  1. Place ingredients in the bread machine pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer and select regular bread setting.
  2. Start machine and relax while the machine does the work!

Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com.

La Boulangerie Arctic

Soft, bakery-style French bread, the chewy crust sprinkled with an especially tasty grey sea salt.

After tinkering with a few recipes, I now have my go-to recipe for French bread. The recipe produces two lovely baguettes or one larger loaf. Either way, it’s hard to stop with just one slice of this bread, and it looks as appetizing as it tastes. After having difficulty getting bread to rise in our Arctic home, I now rely on my Zojirushi bread machine to prepare the dough for this recipe. The loaves are then finished off in the oven. From start to finished bread, it takes about two and a half hours. A warm slice slathered with butter is the perfect accompaniment for Jack’s delicious clam chowder.

Homemade French Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Glaze with

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp grey sea salt (or other artisan rock salt)

Directions

  1. Place first six ingredients in the bread machine pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer and select dough setting. Add 1 – 2 tsp of water during cycle if dough does not form into a ball.
  2. After dough cycle completes, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface.
  3. Divide in half.
  4. Roll each half into a rectangle, approximately 10 inches by 8 inches.
  5. Roll up each rectangle, jelly-roll style, along the long side to produce long loaves.
  6. Pinch seams to seal.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  8. Place loaves, seam side down, on pan.
  9. Cover and let loaves rise in a warm place until doubled, about 20 minutes.
  10. Whisk egg and water. Brush loaves with egg mixture. Make 4 shallow slashes across loaves. Sprinkle loaves with sea salt.
  11. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 – 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
  12. Cool on wire rack.

Bread Machine Oatmeal Walnut Wheat Bread

This hearty but soft wheat bread has crunchy walnuts and a hint of honey. The aromas while baking are magnificent! Jack says each bread I make is his new favorite. I think he really means it, too.

Oatmeal Walnut Wheat Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp instant yeast

Directions

  1. Place ingredients in bread machine according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Start machine
  3. Wait impatiently for cycle to finish armed with butter and honey and a knife.

Recipe adapted from 300 Best Bread Machine Recipes by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt.

Züpfe – Delicious Swiss Bread

The bread loaves are nestled in kitchen towels to hide the fact that we ate half of one of the loaves before I could take a photo!

Two similar breads came to mind for my next baking adventure. Swiss Zopf, which is known as Züpfe in the Bernese region of Switzerland, and Challah, a traditional sabbath bread in the Jewish tradition. I was lucky enough to enjoy both when I was young. They are similar in texture and in their beautiful braided presentation.

Yesterday’s decision to create loaves of Züpfe was based on my being able to adapt the dough to my bread machine. The temperature in our house doesn’t seem conducive to bread rising. The same problem exists when I try to let bread rise in the oven. To modify Victoria’s recipe for my Zojirushi bread machine, I mixed all the wet ingredients and placed them at the bottom of the pan. I layered on the bread flour and the yeast. Per many suggestions by recipe users, I also added one teaspoon of salt. After the bread dough processed in the machine, I braided the dough using a four-strand braid and let it rise on a parchment covered baking sheet for about an hour in a barely heated oven before finally baking it. It doubled in size!

Honestly, when I was finished braiding the bread, I had one of those I-am-so-impressed-with-myself moments. At these moments, I totally get the end zone celebration dance. Then it came out of the oven – wow! I proudly paraded the baked beauties through the house so that Jack and Maia would be impressed. The final victory? Hot slices of deliciously soft bread slathered in butter.

Thank you to Victoria Marler and her recipe at  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/zopf. Her recipe follows for the traditional baking of Swiss Zopf bread loaves.

Ingredients

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 1/3 cups warm milk
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Add the egg yolk, butter and 2 cups of bread flour; stir well to combine. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
  2. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces and roll each piece into a 14 inch long cylinder. Braid the pieces together and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  3. In a small bowl, beat together egg white and water. Brush risen loaf with egg wash and bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25, until golden.

Wild Alaskan Salmon Lox

Something like necessity inspired us to try our hand at making lox, although “necessity” might be a bit strong. On the other hand, there is no kosher deli in Point Hope… so where to obtain a freshly baked bagel topped with cream cheese and deliciously salty cold-cured salmon? Growing up, it was always a treat on those rare occasions we could afford it. Someone had to know how to make it at home, right? To the internet!

After perusing foodie blogs, recipe pages and YouTube videos, we were ready to give it a try. Jack put together a blend of natural coarse sea salt, smoked sea salt, brown sugar and cracked pepper which we then packed onto the fillets before pressing them together and placing them in the refrigerator. At the allotted five days of curing time, we were thrilled  at how our first lox came out. Cut thin, the beautifully translucent slices of wild salmon were appropriately dense, salty and imbued with the freshness of the Alaskan sea. Although Internet recipes cautioned against using frozen fish, ours came out nicely, probably because our fish had been kept on ice before being filleted and then vacuum packed and flash-frozen shortly thereafter. In that regard, our frozen fish is fresher than most “fresh” fish.

We made cream-cheese-and-lox-roll-ups for a party (they vanished in no time),  scrambled some into eggs, and have been enjoying it on crackers and cream cheese. As satisfying as each of these dishes have been, we both craved bagels for our new delicacy.

I accepted the mission and searched out different recipes and techniques. I started the dough in the bread machine–a wonderful tool for making sure the temperature is right–and after shaping the dough into bagels I finished them on the stove and in the oven. The first batch turned out eight beautiful bagels–golden brown on the outside, agreeably chewy, and the perfect texture on the inside.

The thing we like most about living off the beaten path is the time we have (and take) to do things we would have been unlikely to do in our previous lifestyle. There’s a sense of accomplishment that has become a regular part of our lives… lox and bagels…from scratch! When it comes time to move back to a road system–whether we end up on the Kenai Peninsula, Oregon, Washington, California, Belize or some place we haven’t fully considered yet–, I can’t imagine that we will go back to buying the things we’ve learned to make. We agree we don’t ever again want to be so busy that we don’t have time to make things ourselves.

P.S. In an ironic turn of events, our little Native Store in Point Hope recently got lox! I didn’t even bother to look at the price. I did see people go in with gold bars and polar bear furs to trade. Ha ha.

Home Baked Bread

A picture perfect loaf of wheat bread.

Back in September, my first attempts at bread failed. I couldn’t get the dough to rise right. I figured the temperature in the house up here must be too cool. I read in my rice cooker manual that there was a bread function. Lo and behold, it worked. Since Jack and I have a little rice cooker, our loaves were cute little round babies. They lasted for two good sized sandwiches with an oddball end sandwich left over. That worked for awhile. Then we decided it was time for a real bread machine. After quite a bit of research, we ordered a Zojirushi BBCC-X20. What a terrific machine. It bakes beautiful loaves of bread. I’ve tried herb bread, cheese bread, wheat bread, pizza dough, and kiwi jam!  All terrific! There is nothing more satisfying than eating a hot slice of bread straight from the oven. I used to always say “I will never use a bread machine.” Ugh, I’ve been bitten by every single “never” I’ve ever uttered! Life is too short to knead and tend home made loaves of bread.

Read the whole review at: http://www.amazinggrazefarm.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_reviews_info&products_id=84&reviews_id=6