No knead dutch oven bread

From Jo Cooks

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I love to serve fresh bread to guests (or my family!), but sometimes I just don’t have the time to make a proper yeasted bread with several rises. This bread solves that problem. It’s ridiculously easy and quick to mix up – just toss a few (four, only four!) ingredients into a bowl and stir, no kneading required! Let it sit over night, shape and transfer it to a dutch oven – and you have a loaf of hot, fresh bread ready for lunch. Because it is baked with the lid on (causing steam), it creates a wonderful crust. This is a delightful artisan like bread, with minimal work. Have some quality extra virgin olive oil on hand (I prefer Spanish, which is a bit milder) for dipping and you have a crowd pleasing appetizer, snack, or side dish.

Here we go!

In a big bowl mix flour, salt and yeast together. Pour water into the bowl and using a spatula mix it until it’s all incorporated.

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Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit on your counter for 12 to 18 hours.

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Preheat oven to 450 F degrees. Add your dutch oven (3.5 quart is best) to the oven and heat it as well until it’s at 450 F degrees. Remove pot from oven and remove the lid from it. Flour your work surface really well and make sure you flour your hands really well. With your floured hands gently remove the dough from the bowl and roughly shape it into a ball. Take the ball of dough and drop it into the pot. Cover the pot with the lid and place it back in the oven.

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Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, after which remove the lid and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool.

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Yield: 1 loaf (serves 6)

Ingredients

3 cups unbleached, all purpose flour

1 3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 1/2 cups room temperature water

Directions

In a big bowl mix flour, salt and yeast together. Pour water into the bowl and using a spatula mix it until it’s all incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit on your counter for 12 to 18 hours.

Preheat oven to 450 F degrees. Add your dutch oven (3.5 quart is best) to the oven and heat it as well until it’s at 450 F degrees. Remove pot from oven and remove the lid from it. Flour your work surface really well and make sure you flour your hands really well. With your floured hands gently remove the dough from the bowl and roughly shape it into a ball. Take the ball of dough and drop it into the pot. Cover the pot with the lid and place it back in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, after which remove the lid and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool.

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Almost-famous breadsticks

From the Food Network

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These breadsticks were a hit in our house. My husband, Nathan, loved fresh from the oven breadsticks that were slathered in a heavenly mixture of butter and salt with a hint of garlic, our toddler loved them without any salty toppings, and I loved that I could throw them in the freezer to be easily reheated and enjoyed weeks later. They can be made two ways – one rise, which results in a slightly denser (but faster) breadstick, or with two rises which creates a softer and fluffier breadstick. Either way, they won’t last long. Any extras can be wrapped well and frozen. Frozen breadsticks aren’t as mouth watering as fresh-from-the-oven bread, but they are still a welcome treat on a cold winters night.

Here we go!

Make the dough: Place 1/4 cup warm water in the bowl of a mixer; sprinkle in the yeast and set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes.

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Add the flour, butter, sugar, fine salt and 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons warm water…

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…mix with the paddle attachment until a slightly sticky dough forms, 5 minutes.

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Knead the dough by hand on a floured surface until very smooth and soft, 3 minutes.

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Roll into a 2-foot-long log…

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…cut into 16 1 1/2-inch-long pieces.

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Knead each piece slightly and shape into a 7-inch-long breadstick; arrange 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

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Cover with a cloth; let rise in a warm spot until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.

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Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Make the topping: Brush the breadsticks with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Bake until lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt with the garlic powder and oregano.

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Brush the warm breadsticks with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle with the flavored salt.

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Yield: 16 breadsticks

Ingredients

For the dough

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (one package)

4 1/4 cups all purpose flour

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon fine salt

For the topping

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Pinch of dried oregano

Directions

Make the dough: Place 1/4 cup warm water in the bowl of a mixer; sprinkle in the yeast and set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, butter, sugar, fine salt and 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons warm water; mix with the paddle attachment until a slightly sticky dough forms, 5 minutes.

Knead the dough by hand on a floured surface until very smooth and soft, 3 minutes. (**for fluffier breadsticks: lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough inside, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for about 1 hour; then continue as instructed**) Gently roll into a 2-foot-long log; cut into 16 1 1/2-inch-long pieces. Knead each piece slightly and shape into a 7-inch-long breadstick; arrange 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with a cloth; let rise in a warm spot until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Make the topping: Brush the breadsticks with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Bake until lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt with the garlic powder and oregano. Brush the warm breadsticks with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle with the flavored salt.

Note: These freeze well. Tightly wrap any leftovers in plastic wrap, place in a plastic bag, and freeze for up to one month. To eat, place breadsticks on a baking sheet and warm in a 350 F oven for 5-10 minutes (you don’t want to bake them, just warm them up).

Braided pesto bread

Barely adapted from Baked by Rachael

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This bread is layered with earthy basil, toasted pine nuts, and a hint of garlic and then topped with a crunchy, cheesy parmesan lid. Pesto is a favorite around here; we make our own and freeze it to enjoy throughout the winter (and that made this bread even easier to put together). When I saw this bread, which was not only loaded with one of our favorite summer treats, but also braided (so fun to do!), I knew I had to try it out. It was a welcomed afternoon snack; fresh out of the oven, with a dab of soft butter. The next night, I sliced thick pieces in half and made toasted sandwiches with prosciutto, balsamic vinegar mixed with mascarpone, fresh mozzarella, thick tomato slices, and sprouts. It was heavenly.

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Here we go!

Heat water to 115 degrees F. Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Allow yeast to proof – about 10 minutes.

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To the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the dough attachment, add flours and salt.

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With mixer running on low, slowly add yeast mixture.

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Increase speed to medium high, mixing until dough comes together in a clean ball.

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Shape dough into a smooth ball and transfer to a lightly greased large bowl. (my dough was a little sticky here – a little added flour would smooth it out)

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Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for one hour, or until doubled in size.

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Meanwhile, prepare pesto sauce. (If you have some hidden in your freezer, go ahead and use that!) In a food processor, blend basil and garlic. Add cheese, blend quickly. With the processor on low (and the lid on), slowly drizzle in the olive oil. (Or, if you’re like me, pull some out of the freezer and let it thaw)

On a lightly floured counter, roll out dough to a 10 x 20 inch rectangle.

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Spread pesto sauce out to 1/2 inch from the edges.

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Starting at one of the shorter sides, tightly roll up dough, tightly pinching edges as you go.

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Using a sharp knife, carefully slice dough into thirds end to end.

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Carefully transfer to a sheet pan lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Braid dough, tucking under the ends.

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Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Lightly cover with a kitchen towel, and allow dough to rise for an additional 30 minutes.

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Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 190 F.

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Yield: 1 braided loaf

Ingredients

Loaf

1 1/4 cups hot water

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup white whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Pesto (or you can use frozen if you have it)

2 cups fresh packed basil

2 cloves garlic

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (optional)

3-4 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

Heat water to 115 degrees F. Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Allow yeast to proof – about 10 minutes.

To the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the dough attachment, add flours and salt. With mixer running on low, slowly add yeast mixture. Increase speed to medium high, mixing until dough comes together in a clean ball. Shape dough into a smooth ball and transfer to a lightly greased large bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for one hour, or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, prepare pesto sauce. (If you have some hidden in your freezer, go ahead and use that!) In a food processor, blend basil and garlic. Add cheese, blend quickly. With the processor on low (and the lid on), slowly drizzle in the olive oil.

On a lightly floured counter, roll out dough to a 10 x 20 inch rectangle. Spread pesto sauce out to 1/2 inch from the edges. Starting at one of the shorter sides, tightly roll up dough, tightly pinching edges as you go. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice dough into thirds end to end. Carefully transfer to a sheet pan lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Braid dough, tucking under the ends. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Lightly cover with a kitchen towel, and allow dough to rise for an additional 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 190 F.

Cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

Alton Brown’s chocolate ice cream + a general guide to cooking your ice cream base

From Food Network, Amazing cake by Smitten Kitchen

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Every year for Nathan’s birthday I buy him an ice cream cake from a certain ice cream place. It’s packed with chocolate and vanilla ice cream and an amazing fudge and cookie crumble center. Because I am making our ice cream this summer, I decided to tackle his birthday cake as well. Enter the counterpart to Alton Brown’s Vanilla Ice Cream – chocolate ice cream. This chocolate ice cream is exactly perfect. Creamy, smooth, thick, and, of course, full of chocolate flavor. A definite win.

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So let’s talk about cooking your ice cream, which many recipes require because they often contain eggs. Eggs make ice cream soft, smooth, rich, and custardy (yes, please). Usually I cook the base the night before, so that the mixture can cool completely before going into the machine. It’s almost like making pudding, but easier. Homemade pudding and I don’t always get along, as I frequently mess it up. But cooking ice cream? Easy.

For this recipe, you first need to simmer the liquid ingredients with the cocoa powder. Whatever you do, do not let your ice cream base boil. Just keep a close eye on it. While the base is heating up, you will whisk the egg yolks and sugar together, preparing to temper them. If you add egg yolks to really hot liquid, you scramble the yolks – not what you’re going for! So you temper the egg yolks. This is done by slowly slowly slowly pouring a thin stream of the simmering liquid into the yolks/sugar, while constantly whisking. This ensures that the egg yolks slowly warm up while preventing scrambled eggs. Once you have whisked in about a third of the simmering liquid, you will pour the yolk mixture back into the pot with the remaining liquid. Your yolks are nice and warm, and not scrambled. Now you can slowly heat your mixture (keep stirring to prevent scorching) to 170-175 F. If you don’t have an instant read candy or meat thermometer, just wait until the mixture thickens a bit and coats the back of a wooden spoon. When you run your finger down the back of the spoon, a clear line should form. If it fills in quickly or drips a lot, it’s not ready yet. Once it’s finished, you can let the mixture cool to room temperature (to prevent condensation from forming on the lid) and then cover it and place it in the refrigerator. The next morning (or even the next afternoon or evening), you can pour it into the machine and enjoy amazing custard ice cream. Yay for you!

Now back to the ice cream. And oh this cake. I’m not going to lie – the homemade ice cream was a hit. But the homemade fudge sauce is to die for. It’s thick and rich and when frozen is chewy and melt-in-your mouth good. Oh, and it takes all of ten minutes to put together. Check out the link to this ideal summertime cake; Deb from the Smitten Kitchen provides excellent instructions – homemade from start to finish. Ok, I bought the Oreo cookies and cherries because, hello, leftovers. And speaking of leftovers, this cake didn’t last long. At all.

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Chocolate Ice Cream

Yield: 1+ quart

Ingredients

1 1/2 ounces unsweetened cocoa powder, approximately 1/2 cup

3 cups half-and-half

1 cup heavy cream

8 large egg yolks

9 ounces sugar (a conservative 1 1/2 cups)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

Place the cocoa powder along with 1 cup of the half-and-half into a medium saucepan over medium heat and whisk to combine. Add the remaining half-and-half and the heavy cream. Bring the mixture just to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and remove from the heat.

In a medium mixing bowl whisk the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the sugar and whisk to combine. Temper the cream mixture into the eggs and sugar by gradually adding small amounts, until about 1/3 of the cream mixture has been added. Pour in the remainder and return the entire mixture to the saucepan and place over low heat. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon and reaches 170 to 175 degrees F. Pour the mixture into a container and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract. Place the mixture into the refrigerator and once it is cool enough not to form condensation on the lid, cover and store for 4 to 8 hours or until the temperature reaches 40 degrees F or below.

Pour into an ice cream maker* and process according to the manufacturer’s directions. This should take approximately 25 to 35 minutes. Serve as is for soft serve or freeze for another 3 to 4 hours to allow the ice cream to harden.

*If you have a 1.5 quart maker like me, you will need to do this in two separate batches.

Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown, 2005

Twisted breadsticks two ways

From Six Sisters’ Stuff and The Recipe Critic

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One morning I woke up and asked my (two and a half year old) daughter what we should do that day. She suggested making breadsticks (we had just recently finished up the ones from our freezer – and obviously their absence from our lives was still on her mind) so who am I to disagree? She clearly has good taste and like any toddler, knows what she wants. As I was trying to decide between a savory or sweet breadstick, I happened on these two recipes and noticed that the dough was quite similar. This, I assumed, was a sign that meant I should make both. Though the directions may seem long, these are actually rather easy to put together. I lengthened some of the rising time (as more rising = more flavor) and added a few extra flavorings, but otherwise kept the recipes the same. These breadsticks were FABULOUS. So soft and so tender, with a bit of a crispy bottom. Garlic-y and salty or ooey gooey cinnamon sugary. We inhaled both kinds that day (and the day after), and savored every single bite.

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Here we go – for either type of breadstick, first make the dough!

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix warm water, sugar and yeast together.

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Let that sit for 5 minutes.

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Add flour and salt to the water, sugar and yeast.

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Using the dough hook attachment, mix this until smooth (about 5 minutes). The dough will be quite sticky, but should not stick to the sides of the mixer – it may stick to the bottom slightly.

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Lightly spray a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray and place the dough inside. Spray a piece of plastic wrap and cover the bowl.

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Let the dough raise for 1 – 1.5 hours.

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Roll out the dough in a large rectangle on a floured surface. Brush the dough with 5 T of the melted butter.

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For the garlic butter sticks

Sprinkle the garlic salt, Italian seasoning, and parmesan (if using) over top of the melted butter. OR

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For the cinnamon sugar sticks

Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle on top of the melted butter.

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Continuing for both

Fold the dough in half.

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Cut the dough in half the long way and then into one inch strips – a pizza cutter works great for this.

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Twist the one inch strips of dough and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover lightly with a kitchen towel, and let rise for 15-20 minutes (while the oven preheats).

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Bake at 400 F for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Once done, brush with melted butter. For the garlic sticks, sprinkle with a little extra garlic salt and serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

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For the cinnamon sticks, mix up the cream cheese glaze and drizzle over the top or use as a dip.

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Yield: about 32 breadsticks per 1 batch of dough

Ingredients

For both doughs

1 1/2 c warm water

2 T sugar

1 T active dry yeast

3 1/2 c unbleached, all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

For garlic butter breadsticks

7 T butter, melted and divided

2 tsp garlic salt, plus extra to sprinkle on top

1 tsp Italian seasoning (optional)

2 T grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Marinara sauce for serving

For cinnamon sugar breadsticks

5 T butter, melted

1/3 c sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

For cinnamon sugar breadstick glaze

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

3 T butter, softened

1 c powdered sugar

1/4 c half and half

1 tsp vanilla

Directions

Make the dough for either type of breadstick

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix warm water, sugar and yeast together. Let that sit for 5 minutes. Add flour and salt to the water, sugar and yeast. Using the dough hook attachment, mix this until smooth (about 5 minutes). The dough will be quite sticky, but should not stick to the sides of the mixer – it may stick to the bottom slightly. Lightly spray a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray and place the dough inside. Spray a piece of plastic wrap and cover the bowl. Let the dough raise for 1 – 1.5 hours. Roll out the dough in a large rectangle on a floured surface. Brush the dough with 5 T of the melted butter.

For the garlic butter sticks

Sprinkle the garlic salt, Italian seasoning, and parmesan (if using) over top of the melted butter.

For the cinnamon sugar sticks

Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle on top of the melted butter.

Continuing for both

Fold the dough in half. Cut the dough in half the long way and then into one inch strips – a pizza cutter works great for this. Twist the one inch strips of dough and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover lightly with a kitchen towel, and let rise for 15-20 minutes (while the oven preheats). Bake at 400 F for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Once done, brush with melted butter. For the garlic sticks, sprinkle with a little extra garlic salt and serve with marinara sauce for dipping. For the cinnamon sticks, mix up the cream cheese glaze and drizzle over the top or use as a dip. These are best the first day, but are still good the day after.

To make the cream cheese glaze

Combine softened cream cheese, softened butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Mix until combined and smooth.

Favorite green chia seed pudding

From The Great Uncooking

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This is recipe that made me come to love chia seed pudding. I have tried it before, and was not impressed – it wasn’t at all like traditional pudding! But if you think of it as a healthy snack that is pudding-like in consistency, then you might be more open to it. I love making this snack in colder months, as it tastes fresh and summery, but uses ingredients that are easy to find any time of year. It is one of Myla’s (almost three years old now, where did the time go?!) favorite snacks, in fact, I was barely able to take these pictures before she saw what it was, grabbed a spoon, and ate it all. We especially love this as an afternoon or before bed treat. It’s easy to put together in the morning and have it ready for lunch or snack. I often double this recipe, because we eat so much of it at once. It does brown a bit on top due to the avocado, but I just mix it in and keep on eatin.

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Ingredients

1/2 avocado

Juice from 1-2 oranges (1 large or 2 small)

1 banana

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons chia seeds

Directions

Blend all ingredients except chia seeds in a blender. Pour into a bowl or jar and stir in chia seeds (my blender gets full of seeds if you add them, and that is not fun to clean). Pour into individual cups or a mason jar and seal (use Saran Wrap or something with a lid). Place in the refrigerator and let sit for at least 30 minutes, so the chia seeds absorb the liquid. Keep in the refrigerator. Best if eaten the day it is made.

Brat-we-are-in-Wisconsin-Buns

Adapted from All Recipes

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Ahhh brats. Another great aspect of moving back to the motherland. Of course, brats require brat buns and oh, these are good. Soft and chewy on the inside, buttery and crisp on the outside. When we feast upon this variety of meat, it’s usually in the form of chili dogs or brats loaded with sauerkraut – meaning lots of juicy toppings. These buns perfectly withstand our plethora of garnishments. My husband reported that these buns would be a poor choice if you just wanted to use them as a vessel for peanut butter (these are not soft cardboard buns from the store), but instead lend themselves to be used as a bun would – containing trimmings and toppings of all sorts.

This recipe suggested making 16 buns – I found that they were a bit long and I would probably make 18 next time, rolling the dough to only 5 inches long by 4 inches wide. You can also use this recipe to make burger buns, follow the recipe, only changing the shape. As an added bonus, I froze the leftovers, warmed them in a 200 F oven for about five minutes and they were warm and lightly toasted to perfection (we often toast our buns anyway, so this worked out great).

I served these Wisconsin brats loaded with homemade (the best brand there is) sauerkraut, coarse brown mustard, and a side of kale chips. I’ve been completely binge watching The Farm on PBS (anyone else loving this show?). I think I want to cook everything from that show, starting with kale chips. I would repeat this Saturday lunch almost any day.

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Here we go!

In a small saucepan (or in the microwave, as I did), heat milk, water and butter until very warm, 120 degrees F (50 degrees C).

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In a large bowl, mix together 1 3/4 cup flour, yeast, sugar and salt.

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Mix milk mixture into flour mixture, and then mix in egg.

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Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition.

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When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.

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Place dough in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap, and let rise for one hour.

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Divide dough into 16 – 18 pieces (I did 16, but I would do 18 next time).

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Shape each piece into a 6×4 inch rectangle.

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Starting with the longer side, roll up tightly, and pinch edges and ends to seal.

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Let rise about 20 to 25 minutes.

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Lightly brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with sesame seeds (if desired). Bake at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown.

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Yield: 16-18 brat/hot dog buns or 12 hamburger buns

Ingredients

1 c milk

1/2 c water

1/4 c butter

4 1/2 c all-purpose flour

1 (.25 ounce or 2 1/4 tsp) package instant yeast

2 T white sugar

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

Melted butter (for brushing tops)

Sesame seeds (optional)

Directions

In a small saucepan, heat milk, water and butter until very warm, 120 degrees F (50 degrees C).

In a large bowl, mix together 1 3/4 cup flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Mix milk mixture into flour mixture, and then mix in egg. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.

Place dough in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap, and let rise for one hour.

Divide dough into 16 – 18 pieces. Shape each piece into a 6×4 inch rectangle. Starting with the longer side, roll up tightly, and pinch edges and ends to seal. Let rise about 20 to 25 minutes.

Lightly brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with sesame seeds (if desired). Bake at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown.

For Burger Buns: Divide dough into 12 equal pieces. Shape into smooth balls, and place on a greased baking sheet. Flatten slightly. Cover, and let rise for 30 to 35 minutes. Bake as above.