Thursday, February 17, 2011


I just went back to Weight Watchers, yes, back. I seem to have a love-hate relationship with it. I really do know what to eat, in fact, I eat fairly healthy, and use little packaged foods. I prefer to know what is in my food, without preservatives.  Anyway, since that day, I have been so in the mood to cook bread.  That is really one of my main problems when I try to drop a few pounds. Carbs. And you had better not tell me I can't have them. I can get a little crabby.  My problem is quantity, not quality. My older son is overweight, too, and I told him last summer that we both need to remember that when we are eating something really good, that we can't leave alone, to remind ourselves that this is not the last time I will get to eat this, I can have/make it again, so step back!!!! Of course, I say that, but man, is it ever hard to do that!
So, back to the bread. I have two cookbooks from a  PBS series, Breaking Bread with Father Dominic.  He is/was a Benedictine monk in Peru, Illinois. Not sure if he is still there as I believe the book I used this week was about 11 or 12 years old. Every single I have made from these books are wonderful. I haven't had a flop, yet. And bread is not one thing I am proficient at, good, yes, expert, no.  My husband says his pizza crust is one of the best tasting ones he has had, and I've made many. 

So, on Saturday, I decided I was in the mood for sourdough bread, we all know that sourdough takes more than a day notice to be done right.  I mixed up the starter and put it in a smallish bowl, and came back an hour later to have it all over the side of the bowl and the counter, I won't disturb you with photos of this mess.  I had planned on giving a co-worker half of the starter as she had some problems with a recent one, and this hasn't ever failed me. So, when I cleaned up the bowl, and the counter, I went on and divided it up as it was obviously growing right. Guess what, it overflowed both bowls this time! I need to learn to use a larger bowl when I do this.
 Short story long, yesterday was my husband's birthday, and decided to do the spaghetti, salad, bread dinner.  I pulled the starter out of the fridge and made a sponge, then noticed that in the original recipe it suggests leaving it out 24-48 hours before mixing into dough (for baguettes). So on to another recipe! I used a basic white dough recipe and put 2 Tbsp Italian herbs and 2 tsp garlic powder in it to dress it up a bit.

It tastes pretty darn good when it is warm! I think it could have been just a little more done, I didn't use a thermometer to check it, but we tend to like it just a smidge doughy.  When looking through the book while waiting for the dough to rise, one of the recipes was called pesto spirals. It used the basic white bread recipe, and provided a pesto recipe to slather on the inside. Think cinnamon rolls with out the cinnamon, and put in pesto!! MMMMMMmm. But, I had already put Italian herbs in the dough, what to do? On to the third batch of dough for the day! I just let this raise once and put it in the fridge for today. I make my own pesto, and used this, and this one is a keeper, too!! Father Dominic suggested using a round pizza pan and building the rolls in a spiral,too. I opted for a rectangle pan as I had a cute platter to put the rolls on.

My little sample. I did figure the bread recipe out in the WW points system, but didn't figure the pesto. Not sure I want to know.
Basic White Bread
2 cups warm water                     2 pkgs dry yeast
2 TBSP granulated sugar             2 tsp salt        
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used olive)
6-6 1/2 cups bread flour

Put water in large bowl, or stand mixer bowl, add yeast and stir to dissolve.  Let stand 5-10 minutes, or until foamy.  Add sugar, salt and oil; stir to mix.  One cup at a time, add 5 cups flour, mixing thoroughly each time.  Work in enough of remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic.  Place dough in large, oiled bowl, turn to coat and cover with a clean towel. Let raise in a warm draft-free place, about an hour, or until doubled.  Punch dough down, divide into two balls, I usually make a free form loaf, or you can put in two loaf pans. Let raise for about 30-45 minutes or until nearly doubled.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 35 minutes or until top is golden brown. Remove from pans immediately, and let cool on wire rack.  

I added 2 TBSP Italian herbs and 2 tsp garlic powder to wet ingredients. Or roll into two rectangles and spread your favorite pesto on and roll up like cinnamon rolls, cut into approx. 24 rolls. I baked these at 350 for @ 17 minutes.   

1 comment:

  1. That bread looks terrific! You are such a talent in the kitchen. I remember Father Dominic-very tasty.
    Of course, Greg owes his big brother a birthday call!