Tag: baking

Baking Homemade Bread


This past month I have been baking a lot of homemade bread.  While I have always made homemade breads I mainly used my bread machine with the dough cycle and then baked them in the oven.  After checking out a new book from the library, called Make Ahead Bread by Donna Currie I have decided I like using my Kitchen Aid Mixer (which is 21 years old by the way and a wedding gift from my aunt) to create some really great homemade bread that my whole family seems to love.

Oatmeal Honey Date Bread

The first recipe I tried from the Make Ahead Bread book was this Oatmeal Honey Date Loaf.  This bread is so good toasted in the morning for breakfast, especially with a homemade walnut butter or almond butter.  I also used some of the leftover slices that were getting a few days old to make french toast that was another great breakfast.

Oatmeal Honey Date Loaf

The concept of this book, Make Ahead Bread, is really simple and makes baking homemade bread manageable for anyone, even those who have a busy schedule.  Basically you make up the bread in your mixer with a dough hook the day or evening before, let it rise once for about an hour, then shape it into your loaf or place in a bread pan.  After those steps you then refrigerate the bread where it continues to slowly rise some more, take it out the next morning or approximately 24 hours later and then bake according to the directions.

There are lots of great recipes in this bread book that go beyond a normal loaf of bread.  The book has recipes for buns and rolls as well as flatbreads, pizza crust and pastries.  There are also some recipes for what to use the leftover bread for and some spreads and nut butters, too.  So far I have made the loaf above as well as Sourdough Rye Bread, White Wheat Loaf and the Hamburger Buns recipes.  All of them have turned out great.  I like the book so much and the recipes that I have tried that I decided to buy it so I now have my own copy.

I have also discovered that using good quality flours and other ingredients is crucial to having the bread turn out well.   A few weeks ago I decided to break down and pay the extra couple of dollars for the Bob’s Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour instead of the other bread flour I was buying at the grocery store.  I love this bread flour!  If you go to the Bob’s Red Mill site you can get a coupon for a dollar off.

Artisan Bread Flour from Bob's Red Mill

There was a recipe on the label of it that I also tried and have made twice now called the Amish Country Loaf.  This bread is a basic white bread recipe and it makes two loaves but I decided to make some of the dough into sandwich buns that turned out good.

Amish Country Loaf Bread

Amish Country Loaf


Recipe for Amish Country Bread from Artisan Bread package

Above is the recipe from the package of the Artisan Bread.  It is a very simple recipe with just a few ingredients and it tastes wonderful.

21 year old Kitchen Aid Mixer

The above photo is of my Kitchen Aid mixer.  This mixer was one of the best wedding gifts and I am so thankful to my aunt who bought it for us 21 years ago.  It is still a workhorse (with a few scratches) and it is trying some new things now that we have bought the meat grinder attachment and the ice cream attachment – both work well.  I have not bought ice cream in a few months now and it is very easy to make your own with the kitchen aid attachment – the key to it is to make sure you keep the mixer bowl for the ice cream in the freezer all the time and to make sure you add cold ingredients to it when making the ice cream.  I find that it is still soft, kind of like soft serve ice cream, after 20 minutes of churning but once you freeze it for couple of hours it firms up.

I have recently checked out another bread baking book out from the library called The Big Book of Bread from Betty Crocker.  I tried the french bread recipe from there today and we will be having it with dinner tonight.  This book has a lot of various yeast bread recipes as well as quick breads, coffee cakes and muffins and gluten free recipes, too.  I foresee another book purchase in my future since I really like a lot of the interesting recipes in this book.  There are also recipes for using your bread machine.

I am so glad I have gotten more use out of my Kitchen Aid dough hook.  I use the mixer all the time with the regular mixer attachment or the whisk attachment but have not used the dough hook much at all in the past 20 years.  The dough hook is now making up for lost time in the past few weeks.

Do you have a Kitchen Aid Mixer and if so what are your favorite things to make with it?  Also, if you have a good bread recipe let me know about it in the comments.

Have a great day!



Cake Doctor Book and Recipe Review

Cake Mix Doctor Books


I was first introduced to the Cake Mix Doctor books a couple of years ago from one of my knitting group friends.  She made this wonderful Apple Cider Cake and brought it to one of our meetings.  It was so good she sent me the recipe and told me the book it came from.

I usually check the library for any books I am interested in and did so with this book.  To my delight they had 3 different titles of the cake doctor books so I checked them all out.  My local library allows you to check books out for 3 weeks and renew, if no one has requested it, for another 3 weeks so that was more than enough time to try out various cakes in the books and decide I would like to own at least one, if not 2 of the titles.

The titles I own are the original Cake Mix Doctor, copyright 1999, and the Chocolate Cake Mix Doctor, copyright 2001.  The original title I received as a gift a couple of years ago for Christmas.  I just recently bought the Chocolate version at my local Half Price Books for only $5.99.  My oldest son and I went there a couple weeks ago to trade in some books and DVD’s – after my DVD organizing we had some to get rid of.

The Cake Mix Doctor books have a variety of different types and styles of cakes to bake.  All of the directions are easy to read and follow and lots of other helpful baking tips and ideas are offered throughout the book.  All of the recipes start with a basic cake mix but lots of other ingredients are added to produce rich and delicious cakes.  These cakes are not made from scratch cakes.

I was never one before to bake tube cakes, I usually stuck with the 13 x 9 or round cakes.  These books have some awesome tube cake recipes and have inspired me to bake a lot more of this style cake and they are so easy!  I made this one in the photo below for my birthday yesterday.

chocolate cream cheese pound cake made from Chocolate Cake Mix Doctor Book
chocolate cream cheese pound cake made from Chocolate Cake Mix Doctor Book

It is a chocolate pound cake that uses cream cheese in the recipe.  It is very good.  I had made some homemade hot fudge sauce, a recipe I found on pinterest, that was so good and went perfectly with this cake as a topping.  My sons loved it!  The hot fudge sauce recipe was from a blog called Chocolate, Chocloate and more.

Another recipe I recently tried from the Chocolate book is the Hello Dolly Bars.  These are made with a cake mix and are just wonderful.  Very easy to make, too.  They do require a few ingredients but are a cinch to throw together and bake in about 25 to 30 minutes.  The perfect cake-bar treat for my hungry kids.

Hello Dolly Bars recipe made from Chocolate Cake Mix Doctor book
Hello Dolly Bars recipe made from Chocolate Cake Mix Doctor book

I hope you enjoyed this review of the books and a couple of the recipes.  I have tried many more and they are all delicious.  The ones mentioned above are the ones I have most recently made.  Subscribe via RSS feed or through bloglovin for future book and recipe reviews.


White Chocolate Pistachio Cookies

Cookies baked & cooling on rack

I created this cookie recipe after buying some Pinachio cookies from Trader Joes.  They were so good and I decided I could create my own version of them.

This recipe is for a slice and bake cookie.  The recipe makes 2 rolls of dough.  You could easily freeze 1 roll for up to 3 months and just bake 1 roll now.  That way you always have some dough in the freezer when you want fresh cookies.  Just take the dough out and allow to thaw at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours, slice and bake.

Here is the recipe for the cookies:

yield:  about 3 1/2 dozen

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pistachios – (I used my food processor to chop them)
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips

In large mixing bow, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and vanilla.  Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; add gradually to cream mixture.  Fold in pistachios and white chocolate chips.  Shape dough into 2 rolls and wrap each separately in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.  Unwrap dough and slice into 1/4 inch slices.  Place slices approx. 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheet.   Tip: I like to line my baking sheets with parchment paper for even baking and easy clean up.    Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove to wire rack to cool.

Sliced dough on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper

White Chocolate Pistachio Cookies