Monday, June 27, 2011

Fluffy Pancakes

Pancakes and I have a special relationship. They're the first thing I ever learned to make, aside from toast and ice. And they're versatile! Add chocolate chips, blueberries, strawberries, bananas...they will almost always taste wonderful. A hot stack of pancakes with lots of butter and syrup, mmm. I love pancakes.

These do not take much time to make and if you're in a hurry, use a large egg instead of two egg whites.

Pancakes | makes 10-12 pancakes

1-1/4 c plain flour
3 t baking powder
2 t sugar
1/2 t salt
1 c milk*
2 egg whites
2 T oil or applesauce or plain yogurt, you pick

*If the batter seems too thick, add another tablespoon of milk. 

1. In a medium bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt together. In a separate bowl, combine milk, egg whites, and oil. 

2. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and stir just until combined. It should be quite lumpy.

3. Get your pan or griddle going over medium heat. Spray or wipe it with a little oil. Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls into the pan or just use a spoon to plop it in. I prefer the first method, because I like the size and it makes them more uniform. 

4. When the pancakes are bubbly and look a little dry around the edges, give them a flip and let cook for a few minutes more. Serve. 

I'm not sure if it's the egg whites that did it, or the applesauce, or maybe my baking powder was having a good day, but these were fluffier than any other pancakes I've made.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hello, World & Mixed Grain Bread

Yesterday, I made a mixed grain loaf of bread. It was really good, with a crunchy crust and a nice texture. J said he liked it too, so I think it's a winner. A warm slice with some butter or jam is the best!

Mixed Grain Bread | makes two 8x4x2 loaves (adapted from BH&G New Cookbook)
3.5 - 4 c plain flour
2 pkgs active dry yeast, or 4.5 t
1.5 c milk
3/4 c water
1/2 c cracked wheat
1/4 c cornmeal
1/4 c packed brown sugar
3 T oil, or applesauce
2 t salt
1.5 c whole wheat flour
1/2 rolled oats, not the instant kind
Note: the original recipe called for 1/2 cup cracked wheat, but I didn't have any, so I substituted whole wheat flour for it and it worked just fine. I also decided to be rustic and mix it by hand, but you can use a stand mixer if you'd prefer to.

1. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of the plain flour and the yeast. Set aside. In a pot, stir together milk, water, cracked wheat, cornmeal, brown sugar, oil (or applesauce), and salt. Heat on medium - low heat until warm. Add to the flour mixture and stir well.

2. Use some elbow grease and stir rapidly for 3 more minutes. Be careful, as the mixture will be thin. Add the whole wheat flour, the oats, and as much of the remaining plain flour as you can mix in.

3. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead for 6-8 minutes or until moderately stiff. Shape into ball and place in a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let rise until double in size (about one hour).

4. Punch dough down. Divide in half. Cover; let rest for 10 minutes.

5. Lightly grease two 8x4x2 loaf pans. Shape each half of the dough into a loaf, and set in the prepared pans. Cover and let rise until double, about 30 minutes.

6. Preheat oven to 375F. Brush loaf tops with water and sprinkle additional oats on top. Bake 30-35 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Remove bread from pans immediately and let cool on wire racks.