Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread

April 25th, 2011

Cornbread Recipe

Everyone has a cookbook that they don't get enough use out of.  Mine (or should I say, one of my many) is The Bread Baker's Apprentice; by Peter Reinhart, a respected figure in the artisan bread baking community. Although the science of baking is definitive and clearly broken down, the recipes did intimidate me a bit.  For one, precision cooking is not necessarily my forte. I am one of those add a little bit of this and a little bit of that type of cook. However this preciseness is imperative in baking as there needs to be a perfect balance between flour, fat, liquid, and the leaveners. On a personal note, I have been making a concerted effort to step out of my comfort zone, so I thought, why not get a little uncomfortable in the kitchen? Plus, baking is like brewing beer, well almost. I have been brewing a lot of beer lately. Continue Reading »

Banana Bread Recipe

Photo by Tyler Jordan

Its a strange thing really that I find myself baking so much these days. I seem to have developed a sweet tooth in the last couple of years and have found great satisfaction in adding new flavors to classic recipes. The use of orange extract and zest seem to be a common theme these days, my Ginger-Orange Carrot Cake Recipe is a prime example. I have always loved banana bread but am often frustrated that most contain nuts! I do love nuts, but (for whatever reason) do not care for them in my banana bread. I think it has something to do with those small pieces that get stuck in my teeth, they just don't seem to marry well. I find that adding coarsely grated chocolate Continue Reading »

Sam’s Focaccia Bread

December 27th, 2005

Easy and tasty, this bread can be cut into pieces for an appetizer or in large pieces as a partner to cheese or grilled meat. Keep in mind that the dough must raise for 3 hours.

the formula
1 envelope active dry yeast
1½ cups cool H2O (approx 75 degrees F)
7 tablespoons of olive oil plus oil for greasing pan
3 cups bread flour, plus flour for kneading
½ cups whole-wheat flour
4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
Generous portions of minced fresh rosemary
1 cup boiling water

Makes a 9x13 inch flat bread.

the procedure

1. In a large bowl sprinkle yeast over the water and stir with a fork to dissolve. Let is stand for 5 minutes. Whisk in 4 tablespoons of the olive oil. In a separate bowl stir together the bread flour, whole wheat flour and a teaspoon of salt.

2. Add flour one cup at a time in to the yeast mixture, stirring well after each addition. When dough begins to come away from sides of bowl, turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in garlic and rosemary. Make sure to leave some rosemary for the topping.

3. Continue kneading, adding more flour as necessary, until dough is shiny, elastic and no longer sticky. This generally takes about 10 minutes if done by hand. If you have a mixer, check frequently and be sure to not over knead.

4. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Spin and turn to coat all sides with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until dough triples in volume (about 2 hours).

5. Punch dough down and place in an oiled 9x13 inch baking sheet. Press and pat dough until it covers entire surface of the pan. Cover with a towel and let dough rise until it reaches the top edge of baking sheet, about 45 minutes.

6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Just before baking, dimple dough with fingertips and drizzle surface with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sprinkle with the remaining rosemary and the remaining 2 teaspoons salt.

7. Transfer bread to middle rack of oven. Put an empty baking dish on rack below bread and pour 1 cup of boiling water into empty dish.

8. Bake until bread is golden brown and well risen, about 20-25 minutes.

9. Remove bread from pan and place on a rack. Brush top with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Cut in to squares and serve warm. Don't forget the olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping!