Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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Thanksgiving Recipes: Don’t Need to Knead Bread

November 15th, 2010 · No Comments

Homemade breads and rolls are a big part of Thanksgiving for many willing to take the time to do them. (If not on this big feast day, when are you going to bother?)

Some of these are time-savers. The No-Knead bread is now a classic for many. It was much publicized in a New York Times column years back and put its author, Mark Bittman, on the map for minimalist cooking, with a version that cooks in a Dutch oven (this one bakes in the other oven.) Vary it with herbs or other add-ins.

Sweet potato rolls are something different – not overtly sweet, but soft and apropos for Thanksgiving.  James Beard included this version in his great book, Beard on Bread.

No-knead bread

  • 1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 packages (or cubes) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups plain flour

Combine whole wheat flour, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Over low heat in a medium saucepan, warm the milk, water and oil till it reaches 115 degrees, or until just steaming. Pour warm liquid over flour mixture, and Beat at medium speed until well combined; about 3 minutes. Add beaten egg and beat for 1 minute more.

On low speed, mix in 1 cup of the flour and continue adding flour until mixer becomes sluggish. Remove mixer and by hand, stir in remaining flour until dough is stiff and sticky.

Cover bowl with towel, and let rise until double in size, 50 minutes in warm place. Stir down. Pour into two greased 1-pound loaf pans. Slash tops of bread for a decorative top.

Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes; loaf will sound hollow when tapped if it is done. Serve warm.

Makes 2 pounds.

Variations: Add 2 tablespoons grilled, chopped onions to batter with 1 teaspoon garlic powder. Add 4 tablespoons chopped herb mixture: rosemary, chervil, basil and chives are a nice mix. Add in 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, or sprinkle top with Parmesan half-way into baking.

James Beard’s Sweet Potato Rolls

  • * 2 packages active yeast (or 2 cubes)
  • * 1/4 cup sugar
  • * 1/2 cup water (at 110 to 115 degrees)
  • * 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • * 1 tablespoon salt
  • * 3 eggs, one of which is beaten together with 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • * 3 to 3 1/2 cups flour
  • * 1/2 cup cooked mashed sweet potatoes

In a bowl combine yeast with 1 tablespoon of sugar and warm water, let proof for 5 minutes.

Add remaining sugar, butter, salt, and 2 of the eggs to the yeast mixture, stir to blend well. Stir in the flour, 1 cup at a time, and then stir in the sweet potato.

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 2 to 3 minutes adding only enough flour to prevent sticking to the board. When the dough is smooth and springy, shape into a ball. Place in an oiled bowl, and turn it to coat the dough completely. Cover bowl with a towel  and let sit in a warm place until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.

Punch down the dough and shape into 24 golf ball sized balls. Place them on a buttered cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Cover and let rise until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Brush the rolls with the beaten egg and cream mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes. Serve with butter beaten with cinnamon or maple syrup, if desired.

Makes 2 dozen rolls.

Tags: Baking: Cheap therapy

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