Pecan Sandies F

Pecan Sandies

by Cassidy Stockton in Recipes

I have distinct memories of eating Keebler® Pecan Sandies as a kid. The way they crumbled as you bit into them and the warm flavor of butter and pecans. I couldn’t eat just one. I had to have as many as I could get away with. I honestly hadn’t thought of them in years, so imagine my delight when a fresh batch of these showed up at the office a few months ago. I learned two things that day- homemade pecan sandies were far superior to store bought and making them from scratch was ridiculously easy.

It makes sense. I whip up batch upon batch of shortbread  during the holidays and these are, in essence, just pecan-enhanced shortbread. I love the use of the food processor here- everything is done in the single bowl of your food processor. It doesn’t get much simpler and clean-up is a breeze. The hardest part of this recipe is waiting an hour for the dough to chill. I haven’t tried it, but I bet you could roll out this dough and cut it into fun shapes instead of circles- snowflakes would be especially pretty this time of year.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. If our pastry flour is hard to come by, use all purpose flour instead.

Pecan Sandies | Bob's Red Mill

Pecan Sandies

  • 2-1/2 cups Pecan Halves, divided
  • 1/2 cup packed Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Pastry Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 12 Tbsp Butter (1 1/2 sticks), chilled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 Egg Yolk

STEP 1 Process 1 1/2 cups pecans and sugars in a 10 – 12 cup food processor for 10 2-second pulses. Add flour and salt and process for 5 seconds. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand, about 10 2-second pulses. Add egg yolk and process until dough forms into a ball. 

STEP 2 Turn dough onto a 16-inch long piece of plastic wrap and shape dough into a 12-inch cylinder. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

STEP 3 Preheat oven to 325ºF. Grease two baking sheets. Unwrap dough and cut into 1/4-inch rounds, turning dough after each slice to keep cylinder from flattening. Place on prepared baking sheets 1 inch apart. Using remaining pecans, gently press 1 pecan into each cookie. Bake for 22 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Move to wire rack to cool completely. Makes 32 cookies.

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Onion Cheddar Mushroom Galette F

The Wonders of Whole Wheat Pastry Flour + Galette with Mushrooms, Onions, and Cheddar

by Jessica Fisher in Recipes

Years ago after a trip to see old friends of hers, my mom decided that she was going to revolutionize our family table. Her friends were kinda like hippies to us, so it didn’t bode well for us California kids who’d been living on pizza from a mix and mac and cheese from a box.

Mom bought whole wheat pasta and whole wheat flour and whole wheat muffins and a whole lot of whole wheat! Needless to say, this was a big shock to our systems.

I hate to say it, but our protests were a lot stronger than my mom’s resolve.

Onion Cheddar Mushroom Galette | Bob's Red Mill
Fast forward a dozen years and I was that young mom trying to get her family on a better diet. Like my mother before me, I decided to just go “whole hog” and do all my baking with stone-ground whole wheat flour. This was back in the days before the internet, when you couldn’t order groceries online, but were stuck with the very coarse, dense stuff that the grocery store sold.  And it was dense. Trust me.

You can guess how my brownies and apple pie went over. Everything tasted so wheaty.  Like mother, like daughter.

My efforts at improving my family’s diet were dashed – for a few years. My problem was that I didn’t understand that different flours serve different purposes.

I discovered whole wheat pastry flour and my life was changed. I know, that sounds pretty dramatic, but it’s true. I spotted a bag of pastry flour at the health food store — Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour as a matter of fact — and gave it a try.

Wow. I could bake pancakes that didn’t land like bricks when I served them up. I could bake muffins that didn’t taste like a field in Kansas. I could bake brownies with whole grain and they didn’t taste “too healthy”.

I think that was when I heard angels singing.

Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

There’s been no looking back since that day. Whole wheat pastry flour is a regular item in my pantry. It’s been a favorite ingredient in my cookbooks. I use it in my holiday baking.

At first I just went halvsies. But, earlier this year, I baked one of my famous-at-my-house) Slab Apple Pies, but I substituted all the regular flour with whole wheat pastry flour . No one in my family even noticed! It was just as good as if it had all-purpose flour in it.

Whole wheat pastry flou0 is one of my best friends when it comes to making holiday treats just a little bit healthier. I use it in muffins, pancakes, waffles, cornbread, cookies, and pies. It goes super well in savory baked goods as well, like this Galette with Mushrooms, Onions, and Cheddar.

This is the perfect appetizer for your holiday get-togethers. The pastry is light and tender. The filling packs just enough punch to offset the richness of the crust. You might even serve it with soup and salad for a light lunch or dinner.

I think I need to make this for my mom and apologize, don’t I?

Onion Cheddar Mushroom Galette | Bob's Red Mill

Galette with Mushrooms, Onions, and Cheddar

  • 2 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1 cup cold, salted Butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Cold Water
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces sliced Mushrooms
  • fine Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped Parsley, optional garnish

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, place the flour and butter. Pulse for 12 to 15 seconds until coarse crumbs are formed. With the machine running, add the water drop by drop until the dough starts to hold together. Form the dough into a thick disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator.

In a large skillet heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and mushrooms and cook until they are tender and starting to brown a bit. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a small mixing bowl. Cool.

Once the mixture is cool, toss it with the cheese and Herbes de Provence.

Preheat the oven to 400 °. On a large piece of parchment paper, roll the dough out into a large circle, about 10 to 12 inches in diameter. Sprinkle the cheese and vegetable mixture on the pastry, leaving a one-inch border.

Brush the egg wash on the open border and fold it, in sections, over the filling. Brush more egg wash over the folded edge. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and the pastry is golden. Sprinkle the parsley over the top and serve.

Jessica Fisher Color by Sharon Leppellere - smJessica Fisher is a mom of six children, aged 5 to 16. Homeschool mom by day, writer and blogger by night, she writes two blogs, LifeasMom and GoodCheapEats. She is the author of Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and FreezeOrganizing Life as MOM, and Best 100 Juices for Kids. Keep up with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Oregon Trail Cookies | Bob's Red Mill

Oregon Trail Cookies

by Cassidy Stockton in Recipes

Break out of your holiday cookie rut with these Oregon Trail Cookies. They combine some of our favorite Oregon things- whole wheat flour, pumpkin seeds and cranberries. They have a nutty flavor from the whole wheat flour, a zing from the dried cranberries and a crunch from the nuts and seeds. Keep you and yours nourished during your holiday travels with a batch of these cookies on hand. With less sugar than most cookie recipes, it’s hard to feel too guilty about enjoying one. Your kids will feel like they’re getting a special treat and you can feel good about what you’re giving them.

Oregon Trail Cookies | Bob's Red Mill

Oregon Trail Cookies

STEP 1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two baking sheets or line with parchment paper.

STEP 2 In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

STEP 3 In a large bowl, beat butter, peanut butter, sugar and honey until smooth.  Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Add flour mixture and beat until just combined. Gently mix in almonds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds and cranberries.

STEP 4 Roll dough into balls, about 2 tablespoons at a time and place on baking sheets, spacing about 3 inches apart. Flatten each cookie slightly.  Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool on pan for 2 minutes. Move to wire rack to cool completely. Makes 16 cookies.

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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Peanut Butter & Honey Cookies | Bob's Red Mill

Peanut Butter and Honey Cookies

by Cassidy Stockton in Recipes

We just can’t stop eating these Peanut Butter and Honey Cookies! Especially since they are a lighter version of classic peanut butter cookies using whole wheat pastry flour and honey instead of white sugar. These cookies will be a big hit and no one will be the wiser about their healthy ingredients. We think Santa would love a plate of these with a glass of milk or, perhaps, a cup of coffee?

Peanut Butter & Honey Cookies | Bob's Red Mill

Peanut Butter and Honey Cookies

STEP 1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet.

STEP 2 Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, combine peanut butter and honey. Add egg and vanilla and mix well. Add flour mixture and gently stir until combined.

STEP 3 Roll dough into 2-Tbsp balls and place 1-in apart on prepared baking sheet. Flatten each ball with a fork, making a crisscross pattern. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Move to wire rack to cool completely. Makes 30 cookies.

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Orca Bean Chili F

Orca Bean Chili

by Cassidy Stockton in Recipes

If I ever see a turkey sandwich again it will be too soon. That’s why I’m so glad to have this chili recipe up my sleeve and you will be, too. Orca beans are a very new product for us and we couldn’t be more excited. These beauties (named for their black and white color) are about the size of a black bean and have a creamy texture. Unlike many heirloom beans, these hold their color after cooking, making them a remarkable addition to any dish. These beans are grown in Moses Lake, Washington exclusively for Bob’s Red Mill. If you can’t find them locally, you can grab a bag of them on our website.

Orca Bean Chili | Bob's Red Mill

Orca Bean Chili

A flavorful chili with a slight kick, serve this with fresh cornbread and a sprinkling of cheddar cheese. 

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time:  60 – 90 minutes | Yield: 4 – 8 servings

  • 1 ½ cups Bob’s Red Mill Orca Beans
  • 7 cups Vegetable Broth and/or Water
  • 1 ½ cups chopped Yellow Onion (1 large)
  • ¾ cup chopped Poblano Peppers (2 medium)
  • 2 Tbsp minced Jalapeno (1 medium)
  • 2 Tbsp minced Garlic
  • 2 tsp dried Cumin
  • 1 ½ tsp dried Coriander
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • ¼ cup fresh Lime Juice (from 1 lime)

Step 1

Sort and rinse Bob’s Red Mill Orca Beans and place in a large soup pot with vegetable broth and/or water.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer until just soft, about 45 minutes.

Step 2

When beans have slightly softened, add the onion, poblanos, jalapeno, garlic, dried herbs and spices, and salt.  Continue to simmer on medium-low until the beans have fully softened, another 15 – 30 minutes.

Step 3

Add fresh lime juice just before serving.

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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Coconut Sugar Coffee Cake F

Coconut Sugar Coffee Cake

by Cassidy Stockton in Recipes

I don’t know what your post-Thanksgiving weekend looks like, but I can tell you that having this coffee cake on hand will be a lovely touch point in an otherwise crazy weekend. With families going every which way over the weekend—be it shopping, sledding, skiing, watching football, decorating for Christmas, or shoveling snow—having a slice of this heavenly cake with a cup of coffee will be motivation enough for everyone to sit still for just a moment. Bring along this cake when you’re visiting family and friends if you want to be sure to get a repeat invite or are making up for a failure to visit previously. A coffee cake can heal many wounds and build many bridges.

Coconut Sugar Coffee Cake | Bob's Red Mill

Coconut Sugar Coffee Cake

Contributed by:  Sarah House Bob’s Red Mill Test Kitchen

Prep Time:  10 minutes | Cook Time:  50 – 55 minutes | Yield: 8 – 12 servings

Topping

Cake

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper.

Step 2

Combine topping ingredients and mix until a chunky dough forms.  Set aside.

Step 3

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

Step 4

In a large bowl, cream together butter and Bob’s Red Mill Coconut Sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes with an electric mixer.  Add egg and vanilla and mix until combined.

Step 5

Add dry ingredient to sugar mixture, alternating with buttermilk, until a smooth batter forms.

Step 6

Spread batter into prepared cake pan and sprinkle topping evenly over the cake.  Bake until a tester comes out clean, 50 – 55 minutes.

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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quinoa bites F

3 Healthy Road Trip Snacks

by Claire Gallam in Recipes

The holiday season is upon us, and to many, that means lots of baking, holiday parties, endless shopping and long road trips to see family and friends. Even though it’s just as easy to pull into a McDonald’s or a Burger King when the kids start demanding food, those meals filled with fat, empty calories and sugar will only leave them hungry again in no time.

My suggestion? Skip the drive through and pack your car full with one of these healthy, fiber and protein-packed snacks for seamlessly easy road snacking. Now, I can’t promise your kids will behave, but I can promise they’ll eat these up without any complaining.

Preventing your son from licking his sister’s face or your daughter from hogging the iPad is on you, I’m just packing the snacks.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins | Bob's Red Mill

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Yields about 8 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cups Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour
  • ½ cup Bob’s Red Mill Oat Flour
  • 1 cup White Sugar
  • 2/3 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of Baking Powder
  • 2 teaspoons of Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of Vanilla Extract
  • 1-1/3 cup of Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/3 cup of Canola Oil
  • 1 cup of Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 cup of chopped Walnuts

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin tin with liners or spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt together. Form a well in the middle. Add eggs, vanilla, pumpkin and oil.
  3. Using a wooden spoon, stir until fully mixed. Add chocolate chips and nuts, stir until incorporated.
  4. Put 2 tablespoons of batter into each cup (or until 3/4 the way full). Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until browned.

Mexican Quinoa Bites | Bob's Red Mill

Mexican Quinoa Bites

Yields about 14 mini bites.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Quinoa (we love tricolor)
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1/2 cup shredded Carrot
  • 1 stalk Leeks, chopped
  • 1 clove Garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 Jalapeño Pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons diced Tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Green Chiles
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Cilantro
  • 1/3 cup shredded Colby Jack Cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon Mexican Seasoning
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Plus Sour Cream (or Greek Yogurt) and Avocado for garnish

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a bowl, mix the quinoa, egg, carrot, leeks, garlic, jalapeño, diced tomatoes, green chiles cilantro and cheese. Mix in the seasoning and salt and pepper.
  3. Fill each muffin tin all the way full with quinoa mix. Bake for about 16 – 20 minutes, or until crispy on the outside.

Fluffy Banana Bread | Bob's Red Mill
Easy Frosted Banana Bread

Serves about 14 – 16.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup White Sugar
  • ¼ cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened Applesauce
  • 2-½ tablespoons unsalted Butter
  • 3-½ medium Bananas, smashed
  • ½ cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour
  • ½ cup Almond Meal
  • ½ teaspoon Xanthan Gum
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 cup chopped Walnuts
  • ½ cup Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Chocolate Chips for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large 9 x 3 x 3 loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat the applesauce, butter, eggs and sugar, until creamed. Mix in the banana, cream and vanilla, stir to combine.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the flour, almond meal, xantham gum and baking soda together.
  4. Make a well in the center of the butter ingredients and add the flour mixture, fold to combine. Stir in the chopped nuts.
  5. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan.
  6. Bake for about 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely.
  7. Once cooled, frost with cream cheese. Top with chocolate chips.

Claire GallamClaire is a cookbook author, food writer and recipe creator, soon-to-be culinary student
and avid world traveler. She is recently married to a social media guru who loves *almost* everything she conjures up. She writes full-time for the Food section of SheKnowsFabulousFoods.com and is a contributing writer for the Travel section of SheKnows. You can also follow her daily musings and find delicious healthy recipes on her food blog, The Realistic Nutritionist. Follow Claire on Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date with her newest creations. 

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Farro Salad with Apples and Sweet Potatoes F

Farro Salad with Apples and Sweet Potatoes

by Jennifer Farley in Recipes

Whether you need a side dish for Thanksgiving or just a new addition to your menu rotation, this dish from Jennifer of Savory Simple is a hearty blend of farro, apples and sweet potatoes with crumbled Gorgonzola to add an incomparable richness! If this salad were a shirt, I’d say it could be paired with a pencil skirt or a pair of jeans and never miss a beat.
-Cassidy

This colorful farro salad is full of textures and complimentary flavors. It makes a wonderful lunch or side dish. Try serving this at Thanksgiving dinner!

Farro Salad with Apples and Sweet Potatoes | Bob's Red Mill

Farro Salad with Apples and Sweet Potatoes

Yields: 8-12 servings | Total Time: 25 minutes

Note: save time by using bagged, pre-shredded purple cabbage

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium Sweet Potatoes, peeled and diced (approximately 3-4 cups)
  • 5 cups cook Farro (2 cup uncooked)
  • 2 large Apples, diced (approximately 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup Gorgonzola Cheese, crumbled
  • 2 cups Purple Cabbage, shredded and chopped (see note)
  • 1/3 cup toasted Slivered Almonds
  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt (or to taste)
  • fresh ground Black Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the diced sweet potatoes and cook until tender, approximately 10 minutes. Drain and allow to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, gently toss together the sweet potatoes, farro, apples, gorgonzola, cabbage and slivered almonds.
  3. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and gently toss until evenly coated. Adjust seasoning if desired. Serve at room temperature.

Jennifer Farley-600Jennifer Farley is the creator, recipe developer and photographer of Savory Simple, a blog dedicated to gourmet, simple, beautiful food and quality ingredients. Jennifer graduated from the Culinary Arts program at L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, MD and has worked professionally as a chef and cooking instructor. She recently published her first cookbook, The Art of Slush. Her work has been featured by Williams-Sonoma, Bon Appetit, Food52, The Kitchn, Huffington Post and Marcus Sammuelsson.  She currently resides in Washington DC. Follow her FacebookTwitter and Google+.

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Red Lentil and  Barley Stew

{Meatless Mondays} Red Lentil Stew with Barley

by Cassidy Stockton in Meatless Mondays, Recipes

I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but ours could sure use a scarf or two these days. I guess it makes sense, Thanksgiving is right around corner. November should be cold. Shockingly, the dropping temps have us pinning soup recipes like mad on Pinterest and dusting off our crock pots. Nothing warms you like a bowl of soup with a side of crusty bread. This recipe doesn’t use the crock pot, but it doesn’t need to. It’s so easy- after you saute the onion, carrot and celery, you dump in the rest and walk away (or snuggle up with a good book) for an hour. This makes a decent size batch, too, so you can have lunches for the week or stick the leftovers in the freezer for a night when you need a quick meal. If there’s ever a time of year that you need a quick meal, it’s definitely November and December.

Red Lentil and Barley Stew | Bob's Red Mill Perfect for Meatless Mondays

Red Lentil Stew with Barley

Contributed by:  Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods

Prep Time:  10 minutes | Cook Time:  75 minutes | Yield: 4 – 8 servings

  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • 1 ½ cups diced Onion (about 1 large)
  • 1 cup diced Carrot (about 2)
  • ½ cup diced Celery (about 2 stalks)
  • ½ tsp minced Garlic (about 1 clove)
  • 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Red Lentils
  • ½ cup Bob’s Red Mill Pearl Barley
  • 1 ½ tsp ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp dried Parsley
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 8 cups Vegetable Broth
  • ¼ cup chopped Cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice

Step 1

Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a pot over medium heat.  Add onion, carrot and celery and sauté until soft and beginning to caramelize, 7 – 10 minutes.  Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, 1 – 2 minutes.

Step 2

Add Bob’s Red Mill Red Lentils and Pearl Barley, cumin, parsley, bay leaf, vegetable broth and cilantro.  Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until barley is soft, about 60 minutes.

Step 3

Remove from heat, discard bay leaf and finish with lemon juice.

 

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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Ciabatta Bread F

Baker’s Dozen: Essential Tips and Tricks for Baking Success

by Stephanie Wise in Featured Articles

In my five years of baking and blogging about bread, I’ve acquired a few bits of knowledge on the subject along the way. This doesn’t mean I don’t have oh-so-much more to learn – believe me, I do, as I am often reminded by a recipe fail – but thanks to these handy tips and tricks, I’m much better off than I used to be (sayonara, loaves of bricks!).

Because I want everyone in the whole world to know how to bake a good loaf of bread because there are few better things to bake and eat from scratch, in my opinion, I’m going to share some of those tips and tricks with you – a “baker’s dozen” of handy knowledge, if you will – along with a few delicious recipes from me and other Bob’s Red Mill bloggers that can help you get started!

  1. Know the difference between active dry and instant yeast. Instant yeast can be directly added to the dry ingredients in your recipe, while active dry yeast most often needs to be activated before it can be added to the remaining ingredients. To activate active dry yeast, dissolve the yeast in a bowl of warm water (sometimes with some sugar or honey, too) and let it sit until foamy. The amounts of these ingredients should be indicated in the recipe, for example, in this recipe for Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread with Caramelized Onions from The Roasted Root. Some people like using instant yeast because you can skip a step, but I prefer to use active dry yeast in most of my recipes so I know the yeast is fresh.
  2. Some flours cannot be substituted for another. Sometimes, yes, they can, but when you come across a situation when they can’t, you’ll know it. For instance, in my recipe for Whole Wheat Honey Oatmeal Bread, it’s best to use the ratio of all-purpose flour to whole wheat flour called for so you don’t end up with the aforementioned “brick loaf.” Whole wheat flour needs more water to absorb to yield the same result as all-purpose flour with less water, but even with some tweaking of the recipe, it doesn’t always work. That being said, I will sometimes substitute up to 75 percent of the all-purpose flour called for in a recipe with whole wheat flour, but no more. The same goes for bread vs. all-purpose flour – bread flour has a higher gluten content, so when a recipe calls for it, it’s probably because it will give the bread the extra shape and sturdiness it needs. In those cases, I often suggest just sticking with whatever the recipe calls for.

  3. Check the expiration dates. This is a big one, because I think many of our recipe failures can be attributed to it. So be sure you have the freshest ingredients on hand: Baking soda, baking powder, yeast, nuts and even whole wheat flour can all lose their oomph over time. I like to keep my flours in the fridge to extend their shelf lives, and on my jar of yeast (which I also refrigerate) I’ll write the date six months from when I’ve opened it, which is when it tends to lose its freshness.
  4. How to make your own ingredients. You’ve got the oven pre-heating. You’ve got the mixing bowls set out. And then you realize you’re missing a key ingredient. Raise your hand if you’ve been there! Yeah, me too. That’s when knowing how to make your own ingredients comes in handy. Here are a few examples:
  • Buttermilk: Combine 1 tablespoon lemon juice to a scant cup of milk for every cup of buttermilk you need for the recipe. Let it sit for five minutes.
  • Cake Flour: Remove 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour for every cup you need for the recipe and replace it with cornstarch. Sift the ingredients together about four or five times.
  • Bread Flour: Remove 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour for every cup you need for the recipe and replace it with gluten additive. Stir it in.
  • Homemade Butter: Savory Simple has a fantastic tutorial on how to make your own!
  1. How to halve ingredients in a recipe. There are times when a recipe makes a double batch, or I just don’t need all of those muffins or pancakes, so I’ll halve the recipe. That’s when this nifty guide comes in handy.
  2. Keep fruit from sinking to the bottom of baked goods. Easy-peasy: Give the berries or pieces of fruit a good toss in one or two tablespoons of the flour called for in the recipe, then add them to the batter. This isn’t necessary for yeast breads, as the dough is sturdy enough to hold up the fruit. Here’s a great recipe for Blueberry Oatmeal Bread from The Lemon Bowl to give it a try on.

  3. Less is more. If there is nothing else you take from this list, let this be the one mantra you keep with you for baking. It never fails me, especially when it comes to working with dough. The less you play with the dough after it’s fully kneaded, the better. The less flour you add to it to make it a smooth, soft, pliable, elastic, tacky (but not sticky) dough, the better. The less flour you sprinkle on a surface to knead or shape the dough, the better.
  4. Know when bread is fully kneaded. Solution: The windowpane test. Once you’ve kneaded your dough, remove a small piece of it and stretch it out between your fingers to a thin membrane. If the dough breaks, it needs a little more kneading. If it stays thin and translucent, it’s ready.
  5. Make dough rise really well. If it’s the cooler seasons (meaning, it’s sub-70 degrees in your kitchen), I’ve found this trick works well to helping dough proof better: Wrap a heating pad in a thin towel, turn it on low heat and set it on a counter. Place the dough, in a covered bowl or loaf pan, on top of the wrapped heating pad. The little bit of added heat from the pad will help the dough along. Don’t have a heating pad? Place the bowl or loaf pan in the microwave or oven, turned off.
  6. How to test when a dough is doubled. I’m a big fan of eyeballing it, but for extra accuracy, place a strip of tape on the side of the bowl to gauge when the dough is doubled, or, lightly press two fingers into the top of the risen dough. If the indentations remain, the dough has doubled.

  7. How to tell when a loaf is fully baked. Take the loaf out of the oven and give it a tap on the bottom with your fingernails. If it makes a good “thwacking” sound, like it’s almost hollow, it’s probably done. But to be extra sure, insert an instant-read thermometer in the bottom center. For regular yeast breads, 210°F to 220°F is ideal; if it’s an egg or milk-based yeast bread – like this recipe for Apple Honey Challah from The Law Student’s Wife – or has a few extra ingredients in it (like nuts or veggies), aim for 200°F to 210°F. This does not apply to quick breads.
  8. How to store yeast breads. Crusty loaves store well in a paper bag and soft, milk or egg-based enriched breads store well in an airtight container or plastic wrap. Both can be stored at room temperature for a day or two before they get stale, but I like to refrigerate my breads to extend their lives (this is a huge no-no to some because it can alter the flavor of the bread, but I’d rather keep my bread around for longer). If you want to freeze bread, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then foil.
  9. Have great baking resources at the ready. Bob’s Red Mill has oodles of resources, products and articles that will help you along on your baking journey!

StephanieStephanie is the baker/blogger/babbler behind the blog, Girl Versus Dough, where she writes about her adventures in bread baking and other tasty, unique recipes. Her approach is friendly yet inspiring, down-to-earth yet adventurous. She lives in the Twin Cities with her husband, Elliott, her furry child-cat, Percy and a beautiful baby girl, Avery. Keep up with her on Facebook and Twitter

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Stephanie Wise Google: Stephanie Wise
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