Life changing icebox dough

A couple months ago I bought the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. It’s nigh onto life changing.

Have you ever looked at the clock and realized it’s 5:00 and you were going to make a loaf of crusty bread for supper but now it’s too late? Never again.

Have you ever wished you could have really good homemade pizza at home but didn’t want to knead bread forever, and didn’t start no-knead pizza dough the night before? No problem.

Wish you could serve homemade yeast rolls to the family for supper tonight without calling on Sister Shubert? Done.

This is such an easy solution that it’s almost ridiculous: keep dough in the fridge. The end. It takes five minutes to mix it up, and keeps for two weeks. So what are you waiting for?

If you’re not sure you’ll use it all in two weeks, you can make a half portion of the recipe. I do this because only The Yankee and I will eat it (The Kiddo not so much), and I don’t want any to go to waste:

  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water*
  • 3/4 tbsp. yeast
  • 3/4 tbsp. salt

*If you’ve been straining yogurt and have some whey left you can use whey in place of water — a great way to add some protein and a little sourdough-like tang to the bread.

Mix all that together with a dough whisk, a wooden spoon, a mixer, or whatever. No kneading — you just want everything to be well combined. Put it in a container that’s not quite airtight: this 14 cup produce container with the insert removed is perfect for a half portion of the recipe, and is designed to let produce breathe a bit, so it’s become my designated dough container. After two hours at room temperature, move it to the fridge to chill.

Now go bread crazy! I use the dough for pizza, for crusty bread, for buttery dinner rolls, for hamburger buns, even monkey bread! Maybe some barbecue chicken pizza? Dust a little flour on a corner of your chilled dough and pull off a piece as big as you need. Shape it into a ball and let it rise for at least half an hour, but an hour is great if you have the time. Then bake and enjoy! No harder than cracking open a tube of bread with questionable ingredients, and worlds healthier.

Most configurations of the dough will do great at 400 degrees in the oven. Baking time will obviously depend on the size of the bread, but you want the internal temp to be about 190 degrees and the bread to be nicely browned.

I really do recommend picking up the book. It has many different variations of the recipe, and many uses for each recipe. It’s about $17 at Amazon right now, and well worth the price.

Enjoy it, and let me know what you make with it!

Craisin bagels

Oh my moly.

Can one addition change a really great recipe into a really amazing recipe? You bet your Red Rider it can. Especially when that one addition is a bag of Craisins.

I started with the recipe for super simple bagels. You remember this, right? Flour, water, yeast, salt. I said they were simple! But to the mix, toward the end of the kneading, I added a bag of Craisins.

They still puffed up just right.

They survived the boiling just fine.

And they baked up beautifully.

And I got to eat this for breakfast!

Hard to argue with that, isn’t it?

Here’s a quick run-down of the recipe; full details can be found at the original post.

Make a starter of:

  • 2 1/8 oz bread flour
  • 2 oz. cool water
  • a pinch of yeast

and let it sit overnight at room temperature.

The next morning mix your bubbly starter with:

  • 17 ounces bread flour
  • 10 ounces cool water
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

Then:

  1. Knead with abandon. Bread flour is high protein and will take longer to develop gluten; I let the stand mixer have at it for about eight minutes
  2. About five minutes into the kneading, add one bag of Craisins
  3. Let the dough rise for one hour, then deflate it. Let it rise for thirty minutes more
  4. Divide the dough into 12 roughly-equal parts, roll into balls, and let rise under plastic wrap for 30 minutes
  5. Preheat oven to 425 and bring a pan of water with 1 Tbsp. brown sugar to boil
  6. Poke your finger through the middle of the dough balls and twirl on your finger to shape into a bagel. Poke in any Craisins trying to escape
  7. Boil bagels, a few at a time, for 2 minutes on one side; flip with chopsticks and boil for one minute on the second side, then move to parchment-lined cookie sheets
  8. Bake at 425 for about 20 minutes, but start checking after 15 — you want them browned, but not too crispy

Enjoy! These are great with cream cheese. They also mail rather well, which is a nice bonus. :D

Savebucks! How to make incredible iced coffee at home

One taste of this and I promise you’ll think twice about dropping $6/cup for iced coffee.

This all started when I stumbled upon this article about cold brewed coffee. “Cold brewed” just sounded… odd. How does that work exactly?

Turns out: pretty well. It further turns out that it’s likely what you’ve been drinking from the mermaid all this time. AND it turns out that you can so easily make this at home!

Like all good drinks at my house, it starts in a Mason jar:

It’s like moonshine, but for morning.

Okay, write this down — it gets complicated:

  1. In a one quart Mason jar, pour in 2/3 cup of coarsly ground coffee
  2. Fill jar with cold water
  3. Let sit for 12 hours at room temperature

Oh. Hmm. Not really that complicated, is it?

After 12 hours, strain the coffee. I strain it through a paper filter into another jar, but you can use a sieve or cheesecloth, too. Now you have coffee concentrateStrong stuff. Keep it in a jar or container in the fridge; mine has lasted up to three weeks still tasting great.

For hot coffee: mix 1/2 concentrate with 1/2 water (or part water part milk, depending on how you take your coffee) and microwave.

For iced coffee: mix half concentrate, half milk and pour over ice. If you want to get super fabulous, shake your milk and concentrate in a cocktail shaker with ice, which makes a nice little foam on top. I do this, and add a spoonful of sweetened condensed milk, too; this makes it a little sweeter and a little thicker.

Also fun for iced: make an tray of coffee ice cubes! Use half coffee ice cubes, half regular ice cubes and your drink will never be watered down.

Some notes:

  • If you want your iced coffee sweeter add some simple syrup (sugar will never dissolve in there — go with the syrup)
  • Go crazy with the add-ins! Vanilla? Caramel? Cinnamon? Chocolate syrup? Whipped cream? It’s yours. Go nuts
  • Like it blended? Throw your concentrate and milk in a blender with ice and a little powdered milk to thicken it up
  • Be sure to stop and snicker periodically at how much money you’ve saved

Fish tacos with homemade flour tortillas

What drives a girl to decide to make fish tacos for the first time? I’ll tell you:

  1. Finding this recipe for homemade flour tortillas this week. Doesn’t she HE (I am a moron) make it sound fabulously easy and do-able? Turns out it IS
  2. Realizing I had a giant stash of The Yankee-caught fish in the freezer
  3. Browsing through my new cookbook from Lulu’s

Honestly. What else would I do?

So first I made the tortillas. For those you will need:

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup hot milk

Assembly:

  1. In a stand mixer, mix up the flour, baking powder, salt, and vegetable oil
  2. Add in the hot milk and mix till the dough pulls together, then let it knead in the mixer for another four or five minutes
  3. When it’s nice and smooth, divide the dough into 12 pieces, about 2 ounces each
  4. Pat them into little discs, then roll out as thin as possible
  5. Fry on a very hot pan, about 30 seconds each side
  6. Pour some boiling water into a dish and set it on your turned-off oven. Set a plate beside the dish of water and keep your tortillas warm on that plate — the steam from the boiled water kept mine warm and kept them from drying out, too. Bonus!

Next: the fish! This was super easy. I had a ziploc bag of thawed fish and a hot pan with olive oil in it. I cooked the fish, sprinkled with salt, for about three or four minutes on each side till it was cooked through and easily flaked with a fork.

Now make tacos! For ours I used:

  • afore-mentioned homemade tortillas
  • afore-mentioned cooked fish
  • black beans
  • mixed cheeses
  • lime juice
  • cilantro

The beauty of this meal was that we had all the ingredients on hand. The fish and beans were in the freezer, the cheese was in the fridge, the limes were on the counter, and the cilantro was in the garden. A lovely, fresh meal without a trip to the grocery store? Definitely a winner in my book.

Summer salad

One of many perks to having a garden in the back yard? THIS at any time:

I love this super simple salad! Fresh baby lettuce from the garden, homemade croutons, diced tomato, cheeses, and just a bit of Newman’s honey dijon dressing. SO good! And now that we’ve installed chicken wire around the garden, all the salad is going to me — not the bunnies.

I have a lot of lettuce coming in… faster than I can eat it! So I’m sure I’ll have to get more creative with toppings as the summer goes on. What are your favorite salad toppings? Something unexpected, or do you stick to the basics? My friend loves Gorgonzola cheese on all her salads. The Yankee wants all Caesar all the time. The Kiddo wants, you know, yogurt and Cheerios. This post isn’t for him. ;)

So enlighten me! What else should I try while I have lettuce coming out of my ears?

Chicken and broccoli rice bowl

This was such a quick and easy weeknight meal! And a light one too, which I love in the summer. Or spring. Whatever — it’s hot enough to be glow-inducing during the day already, so it sure feels like summer to me.

For this I made two cups of sushi rice in the rice maker:

And steamed two cups of broccoli, then sprinkled on some lemon juice:

And The Yankee grilled some teriyaki-marinated chicken:

Then we layered all that in bowls and added a bit of soy sauce. A la peanut butter sandwiches! Super easy fake-out take-out, minus the MSG headache.

What are your favorite summer meals when it feels too hot to eat?

Spring yogurt

Do you know the difference between winter yogurt and spring yogurt?

Spring yogurt is cuter.

The orginal how-to is here with all the details. But a quick run-down of the process, lest you be afraid:

  1. Heat a quart of milk to 180, add 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 dry milk, plus vanilla or maple syrup to flavor
  2. Let it cool to <120 (assuming you’re using pasteurized milk, you can technically just heat it to 120 and go from there, but I find it doesn’t thicken up quite as nicely that way)
  3. Add yogurt starter: 2 Tbsp. of yogurt containing live active cultures (ideally, 2 Tbsp. you saved from your last batch of yogurt; it freezes great in ice cube trays) and stir
  4. Pour into your very cutest containers and incubate at around 115 or so for four to six hours — I do this by lining a dutch oven with a heating pad set to low, then setting the jars in it and putting the lid on. If you want to make super-cute spring yogurt, add a couple drops of food coloring in each jar, stir to combine, then proceed with your incubation

That’s it! This is worlds better and cheaper than store-bought, and you can easily strain it to make it Greek-style if your little heart desires.