Cinnamon Roll Bread

Along my quest for the perfect cinnamon bread, I found some were too complicated, some used ingredients I didn’t have, some weren’t what I was going for, so, like usual, I made up my own. I was wonderfully surprised when I pulled it out of the oven, as “a little of this a little of that” recipes can go bad sometimes. But as long as you’re okay with that, then I suggest following your heart in the kitchen and enjoying the wonderful surprise of discovering your concoction turned out better than expected.

I wanted a sweet bread, sturdy and uniform so I could slice and put in the toaster, a recipe that didn’t make 5 loaves at a time, and something with the little cinnamon swirl on the inside. To achieve this, there are two parts: the dough, and the filling. The dough took about 10 minutes to make, and then it took about 20 mins to make the filling, roll it up and pop it in the oven. This is what I did:

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Cinnamon Roll Bread

  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat flour (optional, you can just use 2 1/2 cups white flour)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp white sugar
  • YEAST: I let my dough rise over night, so I used 1/2 teaspoon of yeast. If you want your bread the same day, use 2 teaspoons and let rise for at least 1 hour
  • 1 cup warm water
  1. Mix dry ingredients and slowly add water. Stir your dough, you may have to add more water but you do not want an excess of water in the dough because then it will be hard to roll out and work with. Mix with your hands for a few minutes to work the yeast, and then cover and let rise in a warm place.

This bread can rise for up to 24 hours, it will develop a sour taste during this time which is not a bad thing. I let mine rise for about 26 hours and the sour dough taste actually worked well with the cinnamon. Remember the more yeast, the less rise time. Two teaspoons of yeast will rise the dough in about an hour, 1/2 teaspoon will take at least 12 hours to rise.

Filling: make this right before you’re ready to bake your bread

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  1. Reserve about 2 tsps of egg white into a small bowl
  2. Mix the rest of the egg white with the other ingredients in a bowl. It should be goopy and sticky.

Okay now you’re ready to assemble!

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
  2. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan
  3. On a greased or floured surface (I use my cutting board), roll out your dough to about 1/2 inch thick. It should be in a rectangle shape at least about 9-10 inches in width.
  4. Spread your goopy mixture onto the dough. Use all of it! Spread it evenly.
  5. Now it’s time to roll your bread up. This is the hard part so take it slow. Roll your bread longways, so its the 9-10 inches in length and will fit in your loaf pan. If you’re careful, most of the filling will stay in the roll. My first time this was not the case, it takes practice so don’t worry if some filling comes out. It will be extra-specially gooey with some filling at the bottom, don’t fret.
  6. Once it’s all rolled up, plop it in the loaf pan.
  7. Brush your reserved egg white over the top to give your bread a little bit of shine.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.Image

Let it cool for a little and then plop it onto a cutting board, remembering bread is better when you let it cool for a while, and then cut into it when you can’t wait any longer.

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This bread is awesome because its so versatile. You can eat it plain, toast it with butter, toast it with cream cheese, use it to make french toast. It reminds me of a less crunchy, more gooey version of Panera’s cinnamon crunch bagel. Enjoy and let me know your favorite way to eat it!

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Crockpot Bread

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I want to share my crockpot bread recipe with y’all! This is wonderful because no one wants to be in a hot kitchen all day when it’s hot outside. I do put mine in the oven for 15 minutes at the end but that’s just to brown and crisp the crust! It’s not necessary.

Depending on how much time I have, I use my Quick French Bread recipe or my no knead bread recipe to make the dough. The first one takes about an hour to make the dough, the second one takes 18-24 hours. Of course most of this time is so the bread can rise. Remember the longer your bread takes to rise, the better it will taste! Choose a recipe based on how soon you want to be eating your bread 🙂

  1. Sprinkle corn meal on the bottom of your crockpot OR lay a sheet of parchment paper on the bottom of the crockpot. Both of these will prevent the bread from sticking as it cooks. I prefer cornmeal because it adds a very nice texture to the bottom of the crust, but to each his own
  2. Turn your crockpot on High
  3. Form your dough into a ball. I usually do this by squeezing it in half a few times, getting all the air bubbles out, and eventually putting the crease on the bottom when I plop it into the crockpotImage
  4. Put the lid on.
  5. Wait an hour. Use this time to make something delicious to eat your bread with or go tan outside or take a nap
  6. Check the bread. It won’t be done, but you’ll be able to see how much longer it needs. Mine has taken anywhere from 1 1/2-2 hours total. The bread will be done when you push on the top and it doesn’t spring back.Image
  7. Preheat your oven to 425 and pop the bread in. No pan is needed, but you can use one if you like. Bake for 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Enjoy! Instagram your creation! Be proud of yourself! Remember, wait as long as you can to cut into your bread. Cutting into it while it’s still pretty hot can cause the inside to be a little gummy. The steam inside continues the cooking process for a while after it’s out of the oven/crockpot. For best results, wait at least 45 minutes 🙂

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Marshmellow topped brownies

I’m the type of person who eats for texture rather than taste. Not that I don’t like food that tastes good, but more that I don’t like food with textures I don’t like. Such as raw tomatoes or raw mushrooms; these foods cooked I’d eat every day of the week, but I can’t stand ’em raw. Anywho, I noticed that I like brownies a lot more if they have nuts in them, and are topped with something gooey. I usually make Turtle Brownies with walnuts and caramel, but I’ve been at my moms for a few days and she does not have caramel. So I improvised, and this might be something that everyone else in the world has figured out is fabulous and this is just new to me, but let me tell you, it’s fabulous.

I took some gooey, perfectly slightly underbaked brownies and put a few marshmallows on top of them during the last 5 minutes or so of baking. Look how delicious they look:

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Gooey, marshmallow topped brownies

This also works for already cooled brownies, load them up with marshmallows and just pop them in the oven at 300 degrees. Gooey deliciousness, perfect for people who need a lot of different textures to enjoy a brownie.

Things to know before you bake bread

I began my bread baking hobby last summer, when I wrote “learn to bake” on my summer bucketlist. I began with no knead bread, then tried crockpot no knead bread, then kneading bread, then making sourdough and sourdough starters, French bread, rye bread, wheat bread. It was fun and exciting, nerve wracking at times, but always very rewarding. I learned a lot along the way, as I started out knowing absolutely nothing about bread except that I liked to eat it.

Five things you should know

1. Bread baking involves yeast. Yeast is a very much alive bacteria that feeds off of sugars and emits gas which produces bubbles which make your bread lighter and fluffier. You can kill your yeast with hot water. It thrives in warm places, which you can create with the help of warm water. It feeds off of sugar. Salt, or the abscence of sugar can stunt or stop your yeast’s growth. You can buy yeast in packets, jars or in big blocks. I buy mine in jars. However you buy it, store it in a fridge.

2. Kneading. Do not be afraid or weary about kneading. Kneading helps incorporate the yeast into your bread and helps make it grow stronger, like when humans lift weights. Push the dough down, stretch it out, twist it, squish it, pull it, mash it, twist it again. How long you have to knead depends on the type of bread you’re making and how much dough you have. Less dough, less knead time. When you’re done kneading, the dough should be stretchy, elastic, somewhat smooth, and if you cut it in half there should be bubbles in the dough. There are also bread recipes that do not require kneading and still produce a wonderful bread, here’s my recipe for it.

3. The longer your bread rises, the better it will taste. Think of it as a fast aging wine. The amount of yeast you use directly affects the rise time: more yeast will lead to a faster rise; this is more convenient than longer rising dough but doesn’t taste as good. It won’t taste bad, it will still be edible and wonderful. The less yeast you use, the longer the rise time, the better the bread. Less is truly more.

For example, 2-3 teaspoons of yeast can make 3 cups of flour rise in less than 45 minutes. One quarter or 1/2 of a teaspoon can make 3 cups of flour rise in in 18 hours.

Let your bread rise even longer and it will begin to develop a sour taste. Not a bad sour, a good sour.

Bread dough rising

Bread dough rising

4. Steam helps the crust become light and crunchy. There are a few ways you can achieve this: baking in a covered dish, or you can put a pot of boiling water in the oven with the dough. You can bake bread open on a pan without any of the fancy steam stuff, but I find the crust to be too crunchy. My favorite method is baking a glass casserole dish.

The glass casserole dish I bake my bread in. It traps the steam inside and creates a nice crunchy crust

The glass casserole dish I bake my bread in. It traps the steam inside and creates a nice crunchy crust

5. Bread will stick to the pan you bake it in, sometimes even if you grease it. You can prevent this three ways: one, heavily flour the bread before you put it in the pan. Two, lay a sheet of parchment paper on the pan and plop the dough on it. Three, sprinkle a layer of cornmeal on the bottom of the pan before you plop the dough on it. I prefer parchment paper, but cornmeal is a close second. It adds a nice texture to the bottom of the crust.

Bread baked in a casserole dish

Bread baked in a casserole dish

Another piece of advice is to just have fun! Don’t get stressed about bread baking. Practice makes perfect and believe me I’ve thrown out more than a few loaves of bread that didn’t turn out right. You’ll be proud of the end result and it will all be worth it.

 

 

Easy Two hour French Bread

Here is another bread recipe that I use quite often. It is a lot faster, you don’t have to plan ahead, but you do have to knead it. But that’s okay. Some people are afraid of kneading. It’s not that bad. It’s a stress reliever for me. You basically just push and prod and twist and turn the dough for 5-10 minutes. Good forearm exercise 🙂

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Easy French Bread

3 cups flour

2 tsp yeast

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp sugar

2 tsp olive oil (optional, I like to add it to dough when I’ll be kneading it)

1 1/4 cup warm, not hot, water

 

1. Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

2. Pour in the olive oil and water. Stir in, reserving a little of the water. Even if it doesn’t look like the flour will be all incorporated, there’s moisture hiding in it.

3. Start mixing and kneading with your hands, adding more water if necessary. It shouldn’t be sticky and should be elastic by the time you’re done kneading.

4. Fold into a ball and place it into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out and let it rise for 30-45 minutes.

5. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees, place a ceramic dish with a lid into the oven to preheat for 15 minutes.

6. You can either line your dish with parchment paper or a layer of cornmeal so the bread doesn’t stick. Then place your dough in the pot, put the lid back on and bake for 30 minutes.

 

7. Remove the lid and bake for 5 more minutes to brown the dough and remove from the oven.

Remember to wait for it to cool (at least a little) before you slice into it!

Easy two hour french bread

My tasty bread I made tonight!

Hungarian Chicken Paprikash

My uncle’s parents were both Hungarian. They lived in Toledo where a large population of Hungarians lived and their culture thrived. They had owned a restaurant and so did my uncle. They were fabulous cooks and wonderful people. They have passed but their recipes stayed in the family. This is one of my favorites.

I remember having this at so many family dinners, serving it at weddings and parties while helping out with the family business. It’s warm, hearty, a real stick to your ribs meal. It’s kind of complicated, which is what makes it so special. But the time and effort put into it will impress yourself as well as your family.

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Hungarian Chicken Paprikash

 3 pounds bone in chicken breasts and drums

3-4 tbsp Paprika

5 cups Flour

2 Eggs

1 stick Butter

1 large tub of Sour cream

1 Onion, slices

3 Garlic cloves, chopped

3 cups Chicken broth

1 cup milk

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Grease a 9×13 pan and place your chicken in one layer in the pan. Pour 2 cups chicken broth over the chicken. Scatter onions and garlic over the chicken and sprinkle with 1.5 tbsp paprika, salt, pepper and Nature’s seasoning. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour or until chicken is cooked through, uncover during last 10 minutes to brown.

Next you’ll want to cook your dumplings:

Mix 3 cups flour, eggs and milk together. Drop by teaspoonfuls or by pinching pieces into boiling water. They’ll float when they’re done cooking. Drain, do not rinse.

In large pot, pour all of the juices and grease from the chicken. Heat to medium, add 1 stick of butter and melt, slowly add flour and whisk until it begins to turn golden brown. Reduce heat, slowly add chicken broth, sour cream and paprika and continue mixing. You might need to add more chicken broth if it becomes too thick.

Add your dumplings to this mixture and let them warm up in it. Serve on a plate and place chicken on top. You’re done! Enjoy.

Sweet Honey Beer Bread

I am so excited I finally came up with a good beer bread recipe. Whenever I made beer bread, I could always taste a weird, sour, bittery taste in it and I couldn’t enjoy it. I don’t really like beer though so that’s probably why. Everyone has to experiment and figure out how they like their beer bread 🙂 The beer’s purpose is really so you don’t have to rise or proof or knead your bread, the yeast and bubbles in the beer do it for you. You can use any beer you like, my favorite with this recipe is Yuengling Light Lager.

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Sweet Honey Beer Bread

3 cups all purpose or self rising flour

1/2 cup white sugar or brown sugar

1 12-oz bottle of beer

3 tbsp. honey

1 tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan
  3. Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl, then add honey and slowly add the beer. Make sure everything’s combined but don’t mix too much, your bread will turn out really tough.
  4. Pour the batter into your pan and then pour the melted butter over top.
  5. Bake for 55-60 minutes. Like most things you’ll want it a nice golden brown 🙂 Insert a toothpick and when it comes out clean it’s done!
  6. Cutting into it while it’s piping hot will probably make it kind of gummy, because the steam escapes before it’s completely finished cooking, so if you can stand to wait until it’s cooled down a while, it’ll taste better. I usually can’t wait. It’s just soo good with a ton of butter.

 

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