Tag Archives: buttermilk

Three Layer Corn Bread

Not so Wicked Wayback….

Talking about 17th century cornbreads, some one recalled a 3 layer cornbread that her mother  used to make….and I recalled this one from Tassajara Bread Book

Tassajara Bread Book

 

  1. Three Layer Corn Bread

Easy, glorious and amazing!

1 cup cornmeal (fresh stone ground from your favorite local mill is best – natch!)

½ c. whole wheat flour

½ cup white flour

¼ cup wheat germ (not in the 1970 version)

2 t. baking powder

1 t salt

2 egg

¼ – ½ honey or molasses

¼ c oil or melted butter

3 cup milk or buttermilk (my fave)

  1. Combine dry ingredients
  2. Combine wet ingredients
  3. Mix together. Mixture will be quite liquidy.
  4. Pour into greased 9×9 pan
  5. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until top is springy when gently touched.
  6. As a variation, add a cup of grated cheese – Jack, provolone or parmesan.

Tassajara Bread Book 25th Anniversary Edition (1995)

Tassajara Bread Book (1970) p. 107 (#58)

Oh, the ’70’s…..

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Filed under Bread, Recipe, The 1970's, Wicked Wayback

Boston Brown Bread – Slow and Easy

What’s so Boston about it? Probably the molasses…No one says….

Recipes for steam brown bread go back to the 1830’s…..and they mention lots of different containers. I think there’s a  timeline….

Pudding basins :

pudding basin

Pudding basins look like bowls and sometimes are – but that lip is to tie a top down so you could steam

Pudding molds:

steamed pudding mold

This is a steamed pudding mold – pour the batter in, snap on the lid and put it in boiling water

Baking powder tins

Clabber_Girl

Baking powder tins seem to be the first substitute from pudding molds

Coffee cans

coffee-cans

They need to be METAL coffee cans and not the plastic ones.

Then there was a more recent suggestion to save  cans that had safe seams….but I don’t buy that much food in cans, so I was perfectly contented to buy Boston Brown Bread in cans.

bbrown bread

But then I saw a recipe for

MASON JARS BROWN BREAD MADE IN THE SLOW COOKER

GENIUS

The recipe is pretty much the same though the decades…

Good Housekeeping cb

Good Housekeeping (1960’s)

beard on bread

Beard On Bread (1970’s)

KAF 200th anniversary

And King Arthur Flour (1990’s)

and the KAF website – all the same ingredients, different containers and method of cooking

BOSTON BROWN BREAD

SLOW AND EASY

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup rye flour

1 cup wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 cups buttermilk

¾ cup dark, unsulphured molasses

(up to 1 cup of raisins is optional. I usually opt in)

 

  1. Mix the flours with the baking soda. Put aside.
  2. Mix the buttermilk and molasses. Add the wets to the drys.
  3. Grease 4  1 pint WIDE MOUTHED mason jars. (see the illustrations below)
  4. Grease the lids, too.
  5. Divide the batter between the four jars – I used a canning funnel.
  6. Wide them off.
  7. Put the greased lids on.
  8. Put the jars in a slow cooker. Fill the cooker halfway up the sides f the jar.
  9. Put on the lid and turn up the heat.
  10. Cook on high 2-3 hours until a toothpick comes out clean.
  11. Us potholders (mine are silicon) and take the jars out of the water.
  12. When they’re cool enough, shake the bread out of the jars and cool on a rack.
  13. Slice and serve. Eat with butter or cream cheese.
  14. Wrap in aluminum foil and store in the fridge. It’s usually magically gone so very soon…..

 

BLUE_WM_PINT_JAR_1

This is the wide-mouth jar. Notice the straight side up to the opening. If you steam bread in here, the bread will come out when it’s done. This is an important detail. Should you use the wrong jar, serve it with a spoon……..like you meant to do it the whole time.

ball-blue-heritage-regular-mouth-pint-16oz-mason-jar

This is the regular jar – notice that while you could fish a pickle out, a bread would have a hard time slipping out. Hence the serve with a spoon option…..

canning funnel

I love my canning funnel. I use it all the time, wets and drys. Sometimes I can, too.

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Filed under Bread, New England, Pantry

Biscuits -Buttermilk and Bakewell

Back in the long ago olden days – the ’80’s – I pretty much cooked my through the McCalls Cooking School binders.

Mcalls CS bindersIn 1986 I copied out the recipe for Old Fashioned Buttermilk Biscuits , which on their flip side  went by the alias

“Southern Raised Biscuits”

1 cup buttermilk

4 cups AP flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 pkg active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water

2 Tbl sugar

1/3 cup shortening (I now use butter)

2 Tbl butter, melted

  1. Heat the buttermilk in a small pan until bubbles form around the edges – it will curdle. Cool to lukewarm

  2. Grease 2 large cookie sheets

  3. Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt into a large bowl.

  4. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a small bowl. Add he sugar and stir to dissolve completely. Stir this into the lukewarm buttermilk.

  5. Cut the shortening into he flour with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles course corn meal.

  6. Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk mixture all at once. Stir in with a fork to mix well.

  7. Dough will be stiff. Turn out to floured board and knead until smooth – about 5 minutes.

  8. Using a rolling pin, roll our from the center to 1/2 thickness.  With floured cutter (or sharp knife) cut into 2″ biscuits (I like square ones).

  9. Place biscuits on prepared cookie sheet 1 inch apart.

  10. Prick the tops with a fork  1,2, 3 .

  11. Cover them with a towel and let them rise about 1/2 an hour., until their about 1 ” high

  12. Preheat the oven to 400°

  13. Before baking brush tops with melted butter

  14. Bake biscuits 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

  15. Serve warm, with butter and honey…..makes about 30 biscuits.

McCalls Cooking School Old Fashioned Buttermilk Biscuits Breads4.

These are not the only biscuits….my favorite quick and easy biscuit is made with Bakewell Cream.

bakewell cream imageWhat is Bakewell Cream?

Bakewell Cream is a variety of baking powder developed by Bangor, Maine chemist Byron H. Smith in response to a shortage of cream of tartar in the U.S. during World War II. It is sold throughout the U.S., but is most popular in the state of Maine.

It sure does make a nice biscuit. But buying a can is now a commitment to biscuits – I’d hate to have throw any away. It’s available through King Arthur Flour, but I’ve also picked it up in the baking section of my local Stop & Shop.

Bakewell Cream Biscuits

4 c. flour
4 tsp. Bakewell Cream
2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. shortening ( I use butter)
1 1/2 c. milk
  1. Preheat oven to 475°.
  2. Light grease 2 cookie sheets (or use parchment)
  3. Mix together with a whisk the flour, Bakewell Cream, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Cut in with a pastry blender or 2 knives the shortening or butter until it resembles cornmeal
  5. Add in the milk to a well in the center all at once.and mix together with a fork. You really want to combine the ingredients, you don’t want to really mix and create lots of gluten strands. Light biscuits have undeveloped gluten! Mixing makes biscuits tough.
  6. Pat out to a floured board. With a rolling pin, start in the center and roll outward so that it’s 1/2 inch thick.
  7. Cut biscuits with floured cutter or a sharp knife – I like square biscuits, no re-rolling scraps.
  8. Put about 1 inch apart on the cookie sheets.
  9. Put the biscuits in the hot oven and turn the timer on for 5 minutes.
  10. At the 5 minute mark turn off the oven and leave the biscuits in for another 5-10 minutes until golden and lovely.
  11. Serve hot with butter and honey.

ALSO – You can freeze the unbaked biscuits you might not be using right away….mix, shape and freeze. Bake them from the frozen state, 8 minutes instead of 5.

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Filed under Recipe, The 1980's

Waffles for supper

Meatless M0nday – unless if when you hear waffles, chicken isn’t far behind.

Chicken and waffles is not meatless, but a great supper any day of the week

Chicken and waffles is not meatless, but a great supper any day of the week

In keeping with my resolution to reduce food waste, I had to come up with a way to use the buttermilk left over from the Irish bread baking of last week.

I once tried to cross reference my various recipes for just this sort of occasion…it was a hopeless muddle. I just wanted to group all the 1 cup of buttermilk recipes, all the 2 tablespoons of tomato paste recipes, all the…you get the picture.

But because I was reading Marion Cunningham, she neatly solved this buttermilk conundrum for me.

A waffle iron was one of the best small appliances I ever indulged myself in. I’ve actually worn out several. I don’t buy the high-end semi-industrial machine.

This waffle iron is a beaut - but at 200 bucks...I won't eat 200 dollars worth of waffles in my lifetime!

This waffle iron is a beaut – but at 200 bucks…I won’t eat 200 dollars worth of waffles in my lifetime!

I wait for a sale at Benny’s or Target, and get a perfectly respectable machine for under $30. It  has always served well for years. Now that I make waffles less often (read: New Years Day and maybe once or twice in the year, as opposed to maybe 25 or 30 times a year) my current waffle iron should last for decades.

Waffles also have an historic element – you knew I’d be working the food history angle in here eventually –

Waffles as good time food c. early 17th century:

This is a detail from a Pieter Bruegel painting about Carnevale. Notice the waffles as headgear!

This is a detail from a Pieter Bruegel painting about Carnevale. Notice the waffles as gambling booty and  headgear!

This is a 17th century waffle iron from France - It had to be heated over the fire. It's hard to tell from this photo, this might be a wafer iron, which are waffles super thin, extra rich cousins

This is a 17th century waffle iron from France – It had to be heated over the fire. It’s hard to tell from this photo, this might be a wafer iron, which are waffles super thin, extra rich cousins.

 

CORNMEAL WAFFLES

1 cup cornmeal

1 ¾ cups AP flour

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

3 eggs, separated

2 ½ cups buttermilk

4 tablespoons of butter, melted

3 tablespoons of sugar

  1. Start heating the waffle iron.
  2. Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until well blended.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat together the egg yolks. Add the buttermilk and butter to the egg yolks, blending well.
  4. Combine the liquid mixture with the flour mixture, mixing well.
  5. Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff, slowly adding the sugar.
  6. Fold in the beaten egg whites.
  7. Spoon ½ cup waffle batter in the hot greased waffle iron.
  8. Bake until golden. It will smell like popcorn.
  9. Enjoy!

Makes 6-8 waffles, depending on the size of your iron.

The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. Twelfth edition. Edited by Marion Cunningham with Jeri Laber. Alfred A. Knopf: New York. 1979.p. 500.

the-fannie-farmer-cookbook-57448l1

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Filed under Books, Recipe

Irish Breads

There’s more than one way to loaf around in Ireland…..

Soda breads

White and Brown

Brown Soda Bread

Brown Soda Bread

Soda Bread in farls - a griddle cake

White Soda Bread in farls – a griddle cake

Oatcakes

Irish Oatcakes (they're not just in Scotland or Wales)

Irish Oatcakes (they’re not just in Scotland or Wales)

Blaa

Waterford Blaa - in the Irish Food Guide

Waterford Blaa – in the Irish Food Guide

and Cakes.

This is called Irish Bread with Golden Raisins, but really it's tea cake, even if it shows up in The Boston Globe and even if Sheryl Julian and Julie Riven say bread - it's cake

This is called Irish Bread with Golden Raisins, but it is really not bread, even if it shows up by that name  in The Boston Globe and even if Sheryl Julian and Julie Riven say it’s bread – it’s cake.

Most of what will be passing for Irish bread this week is actually cake – tea cake and seedy cake. If it has sugar, butter, seeds or raisins in it – it’s a cake and not a bread. It’s delicious and delightful, please enjoy,  allowing  me my Marie Antoinette moment by letting you all eat cake, but bread is bread and all that added stuff is cake.

Oatcakes have morphed into a kind of biscuit – or cookie – for the most part and are probably the most traditional bread of Ireland, although not the most famous. Oats and griddle baking go back to the medieval period when Ireland was saving civilization for the world. Don’t believe me? Read Thomas Cahill.    How_the_Irish_Saved_Civilization

Blaa is a sort of yeasted white bread roll, perhaps named from the Norman ‘blanc’ when they stopped in to conquer  Ireland. Recently it was a headline in a New York Time travel article, Dining in Dublin from Boxty to Blaa ( http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/02/travel/dining-in-dublin-from-boxty-to-blaa.html?_r=0 ) which includes  In November, I spent a week in Dublin eating my way through some of these restaurants, most of which opened in the last few years. It was my fourth visit to this stately city of Georgian townhouses and lively pubs, and I’ve never eaten better.”  a sentence I hope to make my own some day.

Soda Bread is the kind of bread that screams “Irish Bread” in the month of March around here. It is a bread that is leavened with baking soda and not yeast. Commonly referred to as “quick bread” they go together quickly – no rising time – and are ready as soon as they come out of the oven. Many of them are best warm….and are improved the next day by toasting, because they do stale up almost as quickly as they cook.

Because milk is an important part of the Irish diet – it’s called the Emerald Isle because of all the grass that grows there, which I great fodder for cows, so the butter and beef of the country is not a cliché, but an important part of the culinary landscape for centuries – Soda bread is often made with sour milk or butter milk. The slight acidity level of this liquid actually makes the soda work better.

The classic Soda Bread is a pound of flour and a pint of sour milk, a spoonful of soda and a little salt. Mix together, form into a rough ball, slash a cross into the top to allow the steam to escape the middle so it bakes all the way inside OR to divide it into quarters, or farls, for griddle baking.  The cross  has no religious significance, or if it does I’d like to see a reference from someone who isn’t a detractor about the superstitious Irish. But in typical Irish fashion, we accept the venom of our detractors into as compliments. thus confusing them, and then start to believe our own press. Sigh.

And now for a recipe that isn’t particularly Irish in it’s origins, but turns out a really nice loaf in American kitchens.

Irish Whole Wheat Soda Bread

3 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup all purpose flour (four cups of flour is roughly a pound – measure it by weight if you have a scale…..)

1 Tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon double acting baking powder

1 ½ -2 cups buttermilk (2 cups is a pint, and a pint’s a pound the world around….)

  1. Combine the dry ingredients. Make sure there are no lumps in the soda, it’ll leave dark patches in the bread. I toss it into a bowl and use a whisk to combine everything.
  2. Add enough buttermilk to make a soft dough.
  3. Knead it until it comes together, maybe for a minute or two. It should be firm, velvety and able to hold it’s shape.
  4.  Form into a round loaf and place on a greased cookie sheet (or on a silpat on the cookie sheet). IF the dough is a little slack and starts to schlump on the sheet, butter a 8-inch cake pan or casserole dish and bake in that to give the bread it’s form. (How do I know this? You know how I know this)
  5.    OR in a genius move from the current Martha Stewart Living Good Thing: form the dough into 16 equal pieces and place on a lined cookie sheet – YES – Irish Bread in Individual Loaf Form!!!! I’m planning to freeze it at this point, and then making as much bread as I need at any given moment. (Marthastewart.com/soda-bread http://www.marthastewart.com/1055131/pull-apart-soda-bread)Or divide into farls and bake on a griddle and let me know how it works for you.
  6.    Bake in a 375° oven for 35-40 minutes. The loaf will be brown and have a hollow sound when rapped with your knuckles. 
  7.   James Beard let the loaf cool before slicing….let it cool at least a little, it makes it easier to slice. Slather with butter…maybe some marmalade….with bread like this who needs cake?

From James Beard. Beard On Bread. Alfred A. Knopf. 1973. pp.164-5

James Beard

James Beard

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