Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March Bakers' Challenge - Dutch Crunch Bread

Sara and Erica of Baking JDs were our March 2012 Daring Baker hostesses! Sara & Erica challenged us to make Dutch Crunch bread, a delicious sandwich bread with a unique, crunchy topping. Sara and Erica also challenged us to create a one of a kind sandwich with our bread!

The hardest part of this challenge was finding the rice flour which is the essential ingredient to the crunchy topping. I finally found rice flour at Family Nutrition in Cleburne. If you don't live around here, then I would try at any health food store or www.amazon.com. Amazon has it if you can't find it locally. Please try to find it locally first, supporting local business should be everyone's priority. (Walmart is not a local business.)

I made soft white sandwich loaves with the Dutch Crunch topping. I didn't really go crazy with the sandwich though. Half the kids just wanted bologna and the other half wanted tuna fish. That's not unusual though, they never all agree. So, trying to be as classy as possible, I went with tuna fish. I mixed up chunk light tuna, light mayo, chopped apples, and chopped hard boiled eggs. That went into the sandwich - sorry but that was as creative as my kids were gonna let me get.

What will you come up with?

This is the recipe I had to work with:

Soft White Roll
Six sandwich rolls

This recipe approximates the quintessential white sandwich roll found throughout the Bay Area. The recipe is simple, quick, and addictive.


1 tablespoon (1 packet) (15 ml) (7 gm/ ¼ oz) active dry yeast

¼ cup (60 ml) warm water (105-110º F) (41-43°C) (No need to use a thermometer – it should feel between lukewarm and hot to the touch).
1 cup (240 ml) warm milk (105-110º F) (41-43°C) (We’ve tried both nonfat and 2%, with no noticeable difference)
 1½ tablespoons (22½ ml) (20 gm/ ⅔ oz) sugar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil (plus additional olive or vegetable oil for greasing bowl during rising)
 1½ teaspoons (7½ ml) (9 gm/⅓ oz) salt
 Up to 4 cups (960 ml) (600 gm/21oz) all purpose flour


1. In the bowl of an electric mixer or large mixing bowl, combine yeast, water, milk and sugar. Stir to dissolve and let sit for about 5 minutes (The mixture should start to bubble or foam a bit and smell yeasty).

2. Add in vegetable oil, salt and 2 cups of flour. Using the dough hook attachment or a wooden spoon, mix at medium speed until the dough comes together.

3. Add remaining flour a quarter cup at time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. (For us, this usually required an additional 1½ to 2 cups of flour).

4. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 4 minutes, until smooth and elastic.

5. Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled (or more) in size.

6. Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 6 equal portions (if you’d like to make rolls) or 2 equal portions (if you’d like to make a loaf) (using a sharp knife or a dough scraper works well). Shape each into a ball or loaf and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet (try not to handle the dough too much at this point).

7. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 15 minutes while you prepare the topping.

8. Coat the top of each roll or loaf with the topping as described below. While the original recipe recommends letting them stand for 20 minutes after applying the topping, I got better results by putting them directly into the oven.

9. Once you’ve applied the topping, bake in a preheated moderately hot 380ºF/190°C/gas mark 5 for 25-30 minutes, until well browned. Let cool completely on a wire rack before eating.

Dutch Crunch ToppingThis recipe should make sufficient topping for two 9 x 5 loaves or 12 rolls. If you only make 6 rolls in the soft white roll recipe, you can cut the topping recipe in half.

2 tablespoons (2 packets) (30 ml) (15 gm/½ oz) active dry yeast
1 cup (240 ml) warm water (105-115º F) (41-46°C)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (30 gm/1 oz) sugar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil
½ teaspoon (2½ ml) (3 gm) salt
1½ cups (360 ml) (240 gm/8½ oz) rice flour (white or brown; NOT sweet or glutinous rice flour)


1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a whisk; beat hard to combine. The consistency should be like stiff royal icing – spreadable, but not too runny. If you pull some up with your whisk, as shown below, it should drip off slowly. Add more water or rice flour as necessary. Let stand 15 minutes.

2. Coat the top of each loaf or roll with a thick layer of topping. We tried coating it with a brush but it worked better just to use fingers or a spoon and kind of spread it around. You should err on the side of applying too much topping – a thin layer will not crack properly.

3. With the Soft White Roll, you can place the rolls directly into the oven after applying the topping.

This is what I did:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cinnamon S's

     I love cookies. All cookies, really. But when I have to make all the cookies - no buying anything from Keebler elves- then I really like easy but fun cookies to make. I also like to let the kids help cook, so put on their aprons and let them get dirty. These cookies are close to a butter cookie but rolled in sugar and cinnamon. These cookies make me think of a baked churro. So really, I'm giving ya another healthy cookie option. No really. Go with it. Forget the logic and enjoy.

Cinnamon S's

1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
3 tbl. sugar

Cream the butter and sugar.
What is it about butter and sugar that looks so yummy?

Anyway, next add the eggs and beat until light and fluffy.
Yes, I know you know what eggs are and don't need a picture. I just love the way our eggs look. They are so pretty and I wanted to give you a pretty picture.

So, stir your flour and baking powder into the butter mixture to make a pliable dough. Cover and put it on the fridge for at least 30 minutes. You want the dough to be more like play dough than a soft dough so that way you can work with it.

To shape the cookies, divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Divide those balls in half. Roll out to make a rope 12 inches long.
Now cut that long rope into 2 inch strips. A ruler or tape measure comes in handy, but you can eye-ball-it in a pinch.
Here's the part the kids are gonna love. Roll each strip in a mixture of the cinnamon and sugar.

The strip gets longer when you roll it. Twist the rope into an "s" shape and place on a cookie sheet. Repeat for all the strands of dough. 
Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies feel firm but are not browned.  Play with shapes or see what the kids come up with.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

For Maria - Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

     I have a beautiful cousin named Maria that is really something special. Her and her sister, Lindy, have been like my sisters. We would spend the night with each other often. And we would be tortured at each others' houses. My mom would make us sleep in pink sponge curlers that were so tight our scalp would bulge out and Aunt Alice would make me wake up before 9 am. It was terrible. (Yes, I'm smirking as I write this.)
     Maria and Lindy are both very beautiful, and like me we have struggled to keep our girlish figures more girlish than our grandmother. Both of them are really looking good and I want to encourage them in their efforts. (Seriously Lindy, nobody is supposed to look that good when you're that pregnant!) At Jake's birthday party last weekend, I looked over at Maria talking to my Dad, and for a moment, I saw my mother. It was very precious.
   So I've got a recipe that should make everybody happy. I love chocolate chip cookies. It's the one thing that I can't resist. If there are homemade chocolate chip cookies around, I HAVE to eat them. So I found this recipe that is actually healthy for you. Amazing. Now I'm gonna warn you. It won't look or smell good until you are about to put them on the cookie sheet, but trust me.

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 c. butter or margarine
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 c. wheat germ
1/2 c. chocolate chips (I prefer milk chocolate, but I've used semi sweet, minis, and white chocolate)

First you want to get a big bowl and cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla. Then add the egg and mix til combined.
In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, and wheat germ.
Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Make sure it is blended well.
Yeah, I know, it still looks healthy, we're working on that. Now add in the chocolate chips and stir them in.
Measure out cookie balls from 2 teaspoons. I have a 2 tsp. measuring spoon, but if you don't, just mash the two balls together. Put them on a greased cookie sheet or a silicone bake mat (so no extra grease is involved). Flatten the balls slightly.

Bake at 375 degrees for 11 minutes.

This is a great dessert or snack that you can feel good about giving your kids. This would also be a great treat for the kids to take to school for a snack. When the teacher tells you she can't serve the cookies to the kids because they have to eat healthy, you can be superior and tell her your cookies have more food value, less empty calories, salt and sugar than most snacks they approve of plus you are providing the kids with more fiber. Then you're the good mom for the week!

Here you are, Maria. This one's for you!