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Monday, March 14, 2016

A New Cookbook!

Back in 2012 I heard an interview with Jennifer Reese, the author of Make the Bread, Buy the Butter, on NPR.  I remember at the time thinking that sounded like a great book and I should get it.  Then I forgot about it.  Fast forward four years and I remembered and ordered the book!

The author takes 120 things we eat commonly and makes them from scratch to conclude whether the cost and hassle are worth the outcome.  Everything from bacon to wiener wraps are made and reviewed.

Last weekend I got around to trying a few recipes from the book.   I've been in the bread making mood so naturally I started off by making the Everyday Bread.

I was pleasantly surprised how well this bread turned out.  Not only that, I loved the flavor and texture of it.  The crust on it was perfect; a little crisp.

The inside was slightly chewy.  It's made with flax seed and may be the reason for the chewiness.

I said I was pleasantly surprised because the dough was quite sticky and not fun to work with.

When it rose, it actually stuck to the top of the plastic wrap.  That was a bit of a mess but definitely worth it on taste and texture.  Oh, and it's ready to eat in a few hours after starting it!  Can't beat that.  I'll definitely be making this bread again.

**UPDATE***  I did make this bread again and I changed it up a little.  I think it came out better this time.
I added about a quarter cup less water and sprayed the top of the loaves with oil before I covered with plastic to rise.  This time the plastic didn't stick to the dough and a much more uniform loaf resulted.

It still tastes just as good and the crust still is nice and crunchy but not hard.

I think it's a better looking loaf and it's easier to work with than the sticky dough.

We spend a lot on yogurt.  In fact, I added it up and between my yogurt (less sweet) and everyone else's yogurt (more sugary) we spend about $10-$12 a week on yogurt!  Needless to say, I've been thinking about making yogurt for some time.

I seriously had no idea how easy it was!

The easy way is to start with some good store-bought plain yogurt.  You'll need a quart of your favorite milk, a quart size jar and a candy thermometer.  That's it.

Sterilize your jar with hot water for 5 minutes.  In the meantime heat your milk in a sauce pan to 180 degrees (just before it boils).

Remove the milk from heat and let it cool to 115 degrees.  Then add 1/4 cup plain yogurt and mix it in.
Pour the yogurt and milk mixture in a jar with a lid, wrap in a towel, and let sit for 8 -15 hours then refrigerate.  Apparently, the longer it sits the thicker it gets. I let my sit for 15 hours and it was a nice consistency but not the consistency of Greek yogurt.  Some people strain the yogurt to make it thicker.  That was more work then I wanted to do.
I ended up with five 1/2 cup servings.  The flavor was really quite good and add a little granola and berries (or your favorite topping) and it's great!

I would definitely recommend Make the Bread, Buy the Butter Cookbook.  It's fun to read and so far I'm pleased with the recipes.  I'm going to try making bagels AND lox for my next go!

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