No-Knead Bread

No-Knead Bread

This is the famous, NY Times no-knead bread recipe from Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery in NYC. And yes, I’m late to the party. The first time it was published was four years ago – in 2006. I don’t know what took me so long to embrace this method. I made it after dinner and by noon the next day it was ready for the oven – with minimal work and actual hands-on time. The long resting period replaces the kneading process, doing the work for you. All it takes is five minutes to bring the 4-ingredient dough together and start the process. Who doesn’t have five minutes to make fresh bread the way bread ought to be made?
With wholesome ingredients we can pronounce and feel good about eating?

No-Knead Bread

Flour, a small amount of yeast, salt and water are mixed together to form a ‘shaggy’ and very sticky dough. (I swap out half the white flour with Whole Wheat with good results.) The dough then sits on the counter for a 12-18 hour resting process. The next morning I turned out the dough folding it over a couple of times and allowed it to rise again for two hours. At which time it gets carefully ‘plopped’ into a large, pre-heated pot and covered to bake.

By noon – 18 hours later – the irresistible, distinctive smell of fresh, yeasty bread was wafting through my house. I ate a piece straight away, hot and steamy, smeared in cold butter. It has the best flavor and texture. Dense and chewy on the inside and crusty on the outside. Like artisan bakery bread. But so insanely easy.

Your five minutes starts now…

Printable Recipe courtesy of the New York Times

No-Knead Bread

I’m linking this to Friday Feasts, Foodie Friday, Food on Fridays, Beautiful Life Fridays, I’m Lovin’ It Fridays, and Friday Favorites, and Make It From Scratch.

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Home-made Pita Bread Stuffed with Poppy Seed Chicken Salad

Home-made Pita Bread Stuffed with Poppy Seed Chicken Salad

This is a delicious chicken salad recipe made with poppy seeds, almonds, celery, onion, lemon, Dijon mustard, chives and parsley. The base of the dressing is a mixture of mayonnaise and sour cream or Greek yogurt.

I was hit with a lightning bolt of inspiration and I made my own pita bread too! They were so easy I can’t wait to make them again. Like magic they puff up and form a pocket in the middle. The secret is a really hot oven. They were soft and tender with great flavor – not at all like the hard pita bread you buy at the store.

I don’t know what it is about poppy seeds that I like so much! Maybe it’s visual. Maybe it’s texture. They automatically elevate food to a new level of deliciousness for me making it irresistible.

Chicken salad is the perfect Spring/Summer meal and it works out great if you already have leftover chicken hanging around. This one is extra creamy with a little bit of zing but not overly rich or heavy like some chicken salad can be.

The chicken breasts I used were incredibly juicy making the chicken meat soft as butter and incredibly succulent. Letting them cool off all the way allowed pockets of juice to form under the chicken skin and throughout the breast itself. I hardly ever cook bone-in chicken but this totally changed my mind about them. Sliced almonds are a must whenever I eat tuna or chicken salad – they add a nice texture for a little bit of crunchiness.

Everyone loved this salad! Not a spoonful was left. And someone even licked the bowl clean! I know who but I’m not telling…

Home-made Pita Bread

Poppy Seed Chicken in Pita Bread
(adapted from Food Network)
3 skin-on, bone-in Chicken Breasts (about 2 pounds)
1 Lemon*
1/2 teaspoon Thyme
Kosher Salt and fresh Black Pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup Sour Cream or low-fat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 stalk Celery, chopped
1/4 cup Onion, minced
1/2 cup chopped Pecans, Almonds or Walnuts, toasted (I used sliced Almonds)
1/4 cup chopped fresh Chives
2 tablespoons fresh chopped Parsley
1 + 1/2 tablespoons Poppy Seeds
1/2 cup dried Apricots, chopped (optional)
Torn lettuce leaves, for serving
4 whole-wheat Pitas, halved
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Squeeze half of the lemon over tops of chicken breasts in a baking pan. Season with salt, pepper and thyme. Bake until cooked through and juices run clear (170 degrees). Remove from oven and let cool.
2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, juice of the other half of lemon, mustard, celery, onion, chives, parsley, poppy seeds, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Add the apricots and nuts if desired or save the nuts for sprinkling over top.
3. Shred the chicken, discarding the bones and skin, and toss with the dressing. Stuff a few lettuce leaves and some of the chicken salad into each pita. Sprinkle with nuts.

Poppy Seed Chicken Salad

Poppy Seed Chicken SaladPita Bread

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Carrot Banana Bread

Carrot Banana Bread

This is a tasty quick bread recipe made with carrot, banana, golden raisins, and walnuts. Whole wheat flour and oats add whole grain, nutritious goodness to it. There’s no refined sugar or oil. It’s sweetened entirely with honey and banana and uses Greek yogurt instead of oil.

But don’t let all this healthy talk throw you off. You wouldn’t know by taste alone unless I let you in on the secret ahead of time. The result is a very moist and dense bread, just the way I like it, richly flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg. Chewy bits of sweet golden raisins and crunchy walnuts give it texture and body. As do the distinguishing, brightly colored bits of carrot dotted throughout.

It really packs a nice power punch to eat as a breakfast bread. It’s perfectly satisfying alongside a cup of tea, plain or with a little smear of cream cheese or butter.

Carrot Banana Bread

I’m sending this over to the sweet, smart and sassy Joanne of Eats Well With Others for her BSI Assignment: Carrots.

If your looking for a sweeter more dessert-like bread cream cheese frosting would be excellent over top. And I’ve included the option of using sugar and sour cream in my recipe.

Now for an important word about raisins: if you don’t like them I urge you to try the golden ones. They are quite sweet and the ones I buy are faintly reminiscent of pears. They don’t have the strong flavor or smell that the dark raisins have. You can sub out the raisins for extra nuts or any kind of dried fruit like cranberries, dates or figs.

Carrot Banana Bread

Carrot Banana Bread
(by Reeni)
3/4 cup Non-Fat Greek Yogurt or Regular Fat Sour Cream
3/4 cup Honey or 1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 cup All-Purpose Flour, run a fork through before measuring
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour, run a fork through before measuring
1/2 cup Oatmeal
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 + 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 cup mashed ripe Banana (about 2 large)
1 + 1/2 cup grated Carrot (about 3 large)
1/2 cup chopped Golden Raisins, tossed with a teaspoon of flour
1/2 cup chopped Nuts
Sunflower seeds for sprinkling over top, optional
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a loaf pan. Set aside.
2. Whisk together flour, oatmeal, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in medium mixing bowl; set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl whisk the yogurt and honey together. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well.
4. Add 1/4 of the flour mixture at a time and stir in – alternating with the banana and ending with the flour mixture. Scrap down sides and just mix until incorporated; don’t over mix.
5. Add carrot, raisins and walnuts. Stir until evenly mixed throughout. Spoon into the greased loaf pan. Sprinkle sunflower seeds over top if desired.
6. Bake 55-60 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 15-20 minutes. Remove from pan and continue cooling on wire rack. Frost with cream cheese frosting if desired.
Cream Cheese Frosting
4 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
About 2 cups Confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2-3 tablespoons of Milk
1. In a medium mixing bowl with an electric mixer beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together on low-medium until fluffy.
2. Add a cup and a half of sugar and a tablespoon of milk. Beat. Add more sugar and milk in small amounts beating after each addition until you get the consistency you want.
3. Beat for two minutes on low until light and fluffy.

Carrot Banana Bread

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Carrot Banana Bread on FoodistaCarrot Banana Bread

Focaccia Bread

Parmesan Focaccia

 Focaccia is a traditional Italian flatbread that is distinguishable by it’s dimpled top made by poking your fingers into the dough before baking.

It’s a soft bread with a mild flavor that makes the best sandwiches. It is similar to pizza dough but with a lot more fluff, flavor and tenderness.

I love it for its versatility. You can top it with fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme; sauteed veggies like onion and garlic, fresh veggies like tomatoes and bell peppers; shredded or grated cheese, meat like prosciutto and salami; sun-dried tomatoes, black or green olives, and of course the requisite coarse sea or kosher salt.

You can make it as thin or as thick as you’d like depending on what you fancy it for. Slice it into squares or long and thin like bread sticks.

It makes excellent pizza; dipping vessels or croutons for soups; or just eaten alongside your favorite pasta dish.

Some of my favorite ways to eat it is lightly toasted for sandwiches; fried egg and bacon, turkey and avocado, or salami and cream cheese.

It’s a delicious replacement for burger buns. One of my all-time favorite burgers is on focaccia topped with prosciutto, provolone, caramelized onions and pesto mayo. Mouth-watering…

Parmesan Focaccia

Focaccia Sandwich Bread
(adapted from Tyler Florence)
2 teaspoons rapid-rising dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 to 4 cups flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat and the remainder all-purpose)
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1/4 cup olive oil
Cornmeal, for dusting
Toppings:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon coarse salt
Parmesan Cheese
1. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, proof the yeast by combining it with the warm water and sugar. Stir gently to dissolve. Let stand 3 minutes until foam appears. Turn mixer on low and slowly add the flour to the bowl.
2. Dissolve salt in 2 tablespoons of water and add it to the mixture. Pour in 1/4 cup olive oil. When the dough starts to come together, increase the speed to medium. Stop the machine periodically to scrape the dough off the hook. Mix until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary.
3. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and fold over itself a few times. Form the dough into a round and place in an oiled bowl, turn to coat the entire ball with oil so it doesn’t form a skin. Cover with plastic wrap or damp towel and let rise over a gas pilot light on the stovetop or other warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
4. Coat a large sheet pan with a little olive oil and corn meal. Once the dough is doubled and domed, turn it out onto the counter. Roll and stretch the dough out to an oblong shape about 1/4-inch thick for sandwich bread. Lay the flattened dough on the pan and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 15 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Uncover the dough and dimple with your fingertips. Brush the surface with olive oil and sprinkle on the salt and Parmesan. Bake on the bottom rack for 15 to 20 minutes.

Parmesan Focaccia

Italian Focaccia

Cheddar Chile Beer Bread

Cheddar Chile Beer Bread

If the weather outside is frightful stay inside and bake this superb bread! It’s a quick bread – in every sense of the word – no yeast – no kneading – no waiting! In an hour or so you can be munching on a steaming hot slice slathered with melting butter or cream cheese. You’ll be grateful that it’s quick when the aroma wafting from the oven drives you mad with wanton desire.

The bread has a chewy crust and a soft, tender, incredibly moist but dense crumb. So much so that it required three go-arounds in the toaster for it to get just a bit of golden color to it. The flavor is lightly reminiscent of beer, with little melted pockets of Cheddar and Green Chiles dotted throughout. I loaded up the crust like an ‘everything’ bagel with poppy, caraway and sesame seeds, along with a light sprinkle of sea salt. It added an extra dimension of flavor and enhanced the already delicious crust even further. I’m quite sure it would be just fine without the topping and a light scatter of cheese instead. And without the Green Chiles or with Jalapenos in their place.

If you have had disappointing experiences working with yeast, or just find yourself wishing for the time to cook up some fresh, hot bread to go with that soup, chili or stew you planned on making then this is just the thing for you. Pop this in the oven first and it will be ready when your soup is. Then come back and thank me. Sounds like a plan.

Cheddar Chile Beer Bread

Cheddar Chile Beer Bread
(by Reeni)
1 and 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour(run a fork through it before measuring)
1 and 1/2 cups All-purpose Flour(run a fork through it before measuring)
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoon Dry Mustard
12 ounces Beer(any kind will work)
2 cups shredded Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese (I used White)
2 – 4.5 ounce cans Green Chiles, chopped, with juices
Optional Topping:
1 teaspoon Sesame Seeds
1 teaspoon Poppy Seeds
1 teaspoon Caraway Seeds
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients.
3. Add the green chiles, cheddar, and beer. Stir until combined. Batter will be very thick.
4. Scrape it out into the loaf and spread it out evenly.
5. Sprinkle the seeds and salt over the top. Gently press them into the batter using your fingers.
6. Turn oven down to 400 degrees. Bake for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean from center.
7. Cool on wire rack 15 minutes, turn out from pan and continue cooling while you sample!

Cheddar Chile Beer Bread

Cheddar Chile Beer Bread

Cheddar Chile Beer Bread on FoodistaCheddar Chile Beer Bread

Oatmeal Banana Breakfast Bread

Oatmeal Banana Breakfast Bread

 I whipped up this hearty, nourishing, and best of all delicious bread for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning. It was a healthy start to the feasting that would go on later in the day and to balance out the overnight cinnamon rolls that were also baking. You have your common breakfast foods of oatmeal, fruit, and yogurt all rolled into one, making it the perfect model for a breakfast bread. And quite a nutritious one using honey as a sweetener and lots of whole wheat flour. There’s no butter or oil. But honestly, you would never know just how healthy it really was if I put a piece in front of you. The bananas help to naturally sweeten it even further, and its very moist. There’s a heavy dose of vibrant cranberries speckled throughout along with crunchy walnuts. It’s dense and filling, and bursting with banana flavor. The true test was my 14 year old nephew. It passed with flying colors. I even caught him eating it as a bedtime snack.

Oatmeal Banana Breakfast Bread

Oatmeal Banana Breakfast Bread
(by Reeni)
1 + 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 + 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3-4 large ripe bananas(about 2 cups)
1 large egg
1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped cranberries tossed with 1 teaspoon flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter a loaf pan.
2. In a medium bowl mix both flours, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg together.
3. In a large mixing bowl mash up the bananas and mix with the egg, yogurt, honey, and vanilla extract.
4. Combine dry with wet until just combined, careful not to over mix. Fold in the cranberries and walnuts.
5. Pour into loaf pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
6. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Turn out and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Oatmeal Banana Breakfast Bread


Oatmeal Banana Breakfast Bread