Nutty and Fresh Whole Wheat Bread

Hey bloggies,

Have you ever had one of those days where you have a craving for the smell of baking bread to spread through your house? Even on hot summer days, baking bread can be so rewarding!

Mmmmm…

I’m here today to give you the recipe to make your own homemade bread! It’s as easy as one-two-three as long as you have the time and dedication to make delicious bread! Just know that it won’t keep very long since it has no store-bought preservatives (not that this yummy bread will last that long anyways; we eat our entire loaf in less than a day!).

There are three simple processes in making bread: Mixing, proofing, and shaping. Once you have these down, you can make any kind of bread you want!

I’m going to show you how to make a recipe for three-seed whole wheat bread I adapted from the cookbook of Sarabeth’s Bakery in New York. I decided to use white whole wheat flour instead of regular whole wheat for a milder flavor, but you can use whichever satisfies your taste buds!

Three-Seed Whole Wheat Bread

adapted from the recipe for Sarabeth’s House Bread in Sarabeth’s Bakery

makes 1 loaf of bread

1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 cup and 2 tablespoons water, divided

1 cup cold water

1 1/4 cups and 2 tablespoons white whole wheat flour

1 1/4 cups and 2 tablespoons bread flour, with more if necessary

1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1 tablespoon chia seeds

3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Softened butter for greasing bowl and pan

1 tablespoon egg product, for glazing (you can use a whole beaten egg but be aware you will have a lot leftover)

Sprinkle active dry yeast over 2 tablespoons of warm water in a small bowl. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then stir to dissolve the yeast. Add the contents of the bowl along with the remaining 1 cup of cold water and the honey to a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer). Whisk to combine.

If you have a stand mixer, use your paddle attachment. Otherwise, like me, use your normal hand mixer. Stir together the white whole wheat flour, 1 cup and 2 tablespoons of the bread flour, the cornmeal, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, and the salt in a large bowl. Add the flour and seed mixture to the mixer bowl, mixing on low speed. Beat until the dough starts to form.

Gradually, add as much of the remaining 1/4 cup of bread flour as needed to form a rough dough that scrapes from the sides of the bowl. At this point, move your dough onto a floured workspace (I use flour on top of parchment) to start kneading. (If you have a stand mixer, switch from paddle attachment to dough hook on medium-low speed.) Knead until the dough is smooth, slightly sticky but not sticking to the workspace, but not over-floured.

Buter a medium bowl and shape the dough into a ball. Roll the ball around the bowl until coated with butter, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let it sit in a warm area until the dough is twice as large, about 1 1/4 hours. This is the first proofing.

Butter an 8 by 4 by 2 1/2-inch aluminum loaf pan (standard size). Gently press the dough to deflate it a little, then pat it into an 8 inch-long rectangle. Roll from the long side into an 8 inch-long loaf, then pinch the seam closed. Place the loaf seam down into the pan.

Time for the second proofing. Place the pan along with a tall glass of hot (not boiling) water either in a large bag (like a garbage bag) or in your oven on the proofing setting. If using the bag, close it while slightly inflated so the bag doesn’t stick to the top of the dough. Let the dough sit until the top of the loaf reaches the top of the pan or even an inch higher, about 45 minutes.

Remove your loaf pan and glass of water from the bag/oven. Place your oven rack in the center position and preheat to 375° F. Brush the top of the loaf lightly without deflating the bread) with the egg. Bake until the loaves are brown on top and bottoms sound hollow if tapped, about 40 minutes. If you want browned, crusty sides of the bread, carefully slip the loaf out using dishcloths to check the sides. Place foil over the top to prevent it from browning further, then replace the loaf in the pan back in the oven to brown sides more.

Cool the loaf on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove the loaf from the pan to cool completely on the rack. For the best bread structure, cool for an hour before slicing. For the yummiest warm bread taste, eat immediately. :)

With love,

SEM

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Costa Rica-Inspired Batidos

Salutations bloggies!

We just got back from a great vacation in Costa Rica and among all the amazing things we saw and experienced, one of the greatest was the food! This will hopefully be one of the many Costa Rican-inspired food posts to come.

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Don’t those drinks look delicious? They’re called batidos which I’ve come to understand means something along the lines of smoothie in English. In the disgustingly humid weather of Costa Rica, where taking a step is like pushing through a pile of wet towels, a batido, a yummy and refreshing combination of tropical fruit, milk, and ice is the perfect thing no matter what country you’re in. With all the heat this summer is bringing, this simple yet delicious batido recipe is bound to make your tastebuds tingle and cool you off. Let’s get started!

Let’s start off with some ingredients! I decided to make a blackberry batido because that was the flavor I enjoyed the most in Costa Rica. In thinking about the ingredients, I realized using fresh blackberries, while more flavorful and healthy, would make things extremely difficult because of their seeds. In the end, I decided to use a smoother substitute: blackberry jam. I know what you’re thinking. Blackberry jam seems cheap, overly sweet, full of artificial flavors. However, not all jam has to be like that, and mine certainly wasn’t. Here’s the recipe:

1/2 cup of non-fat milk

1/2 cup of vanilla ice-cream

2 heaping tablespoons of blackberry jam (or some other jam or concentrate would work equally well for different flavors)

2 ice cubes

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As you can see the ingredients are extremely simple and easy to buy. All you have to do after that is throw it all in a blender and let it go until smooth.

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Be warned that this is not a thick smoothie, but more of a creamy, fruity juice, or in other words, a batido.

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Mmmmm, so delicious. As mentioned above, feel free to use other jams or frozen concentrates to vary your flavors. Hope you’ve enjoyed this super easy but super delicious recipe. Keep an eye out for more Costa Rica-themed posts!

With love,

SEM

Trio of Cupcakes

Sup bloggies? How’s your week been?

Our week has been FULL of cupcakes :) We made three kinds: chai, vanilla + chocolate swirl, and mexican chocolate!

The recipe for the chai cupcakes (including frosting) can be found here.

The cupcakes right after they came out of the oven. They look absolutely perfect!

This picture isn’t that great but the cupcakes themselves turned out amazing! We think it’s safe to say that in terms of cake, these were the best we’ve ever had because of their subtle sweetness but extreme moistness and perfect texture. We decided to sprinkle the chai spice onto the cupcake rather than mixing it directly into the frosting as the recipe said, but then the cupcakes turned out to need a bit more chai flavor. In any event, we recommend experimenting with the frosting (it never hurts to try it!) until you find the level of spice you like.

The recipe for the vanilla + chocolate swirl cupcakes (also including frosting) can be found here.

The cupcakes before they were baked. We couldn’t decide which cupcake wrappers to use, so we decided to use a little bit of every one!

The cupcakes after they came out of the oven swirled. Mmmmmm!

We decided not to put chocolate on all the cupcakes, but we think you’ll agree that they’re beautiful either way!

The recipe for the mexican chocolate cupcakes can be found here. We tweaked the frosting ourselves, so the recipe is posted below.

The cupcakes after they came out of the oven. These cupcakes were super easy to make and didn’t require butter. Don’t worry if the batter seems thinner than a typical cupcake batter. They still turned out fabulous!

The scrumptious cupcakes before they got sprinkled. Between the pretty white pearls, the spice of the cinnamon with the chocolate, and the smooth moistness of the cake, we’d say these cupcakes are absolutely divine. Look below to find our recipe for the frosting.

Mexican Chocolate Frosting

based on the recipe at Eat, Run, Read

makes enough for 10 cupcakes (half the chocolate cupcake recipe)

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons milk

1/4 cup semisweet chocolate, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat softened butter, cocoa, and cinnamon until smooth. Add powdered sugar and milk alternately. Then, add the melted chocolate and vanilla for extra flavor/more color. Voila! Amazing mexican chocolate frosting!

FYI: We know this isn’t exactly comforting to know, but we were mostly eyeballing and adding to taste for this recipe, so it may not be perfect. Use your inner culinary genius to get it perfect for your tastebuds! We thought it was better with extra cinnamon but play around to fit your own personal taste.

With love,

SEM