Thursday, August 19, 2010

Making Your Own Quick Bread Mix

I wanted to revisit my adventures in quick bread because I've streamlined the process even more. Now I freeze bags of bread mix and pull them out when I need bread or biscuits. If we want bread, I add water to the mix and if we want biscuits, I add milk (or a mixture of sour cream and water).
Awesome Quick Bread

Dry ingredients:

4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 tsp. my baking powder mix (half baking soda and half arrowroot powder - I leave out the cream of tartar)
1 to 2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 to 1 stick butter or up to 8 tbsp. your preferred fat

Dump all the above ingredients into the food processor and pulse until there are no large pieces of butter visible. Pour this into a gallon baggie and freeze. I make several of these while I have the food processor out. I really enjoy getting 6 loaves of bread mix ready to freeze and only having to wash the processor once. When I get ready for bread, I put my oval corningware dish into the 400F oven with 2 to 4 tbsp. butter in it to melt. I put the bread mix into a bowl and add about 1 to 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar and a palmful of organic sugar (vinegar to help it rise and sugar to counteract the flavor of the vinegar) and enough filtered water to make a good dough (I have never measured the water successfully, but it takes in the neighborhood of 2 to 3 cups). You can add minced fresh garlic, onions, shredded cheese, diced peppers, sundried tomatoes, herbs, spices, etc. to your dough or you can just plop it into the pan once the butter is melted and sprinkle shredded cheese across the top. Use a pastry brush to bring up some of the melted butter from the sides to the top (or melt additional butter and brush it onto the top) and bake. It takes about 35 - 45 minutes to bake in my deep oval corningware dish (test it with a knife inserted in the middle) and about 20 - 25 minutes in my baking sheet (flatbread). This also makes a really good pizza crust. Once it is cooled, we slice it and make open face sandwiches or cheese toast from it or just eat a piece of it with dinner. I don't think we could go back to store bread if we had to at this point. We don't have this bread every meal, but I do make it about twice a week.

This is a very flexible recipe so feel free to make it your own. I have added raisins (Newman's Own) and cinnamon to the dough with milk for the liquid to make scones. After mixing well, I poured the batter into my buttered 9 x 13 pan, brushed it with butter, then scored the top to mark biscuit size portions. After it baked, I cut on the score lines and we enjoyed square scones with honey butter. It would work quite well to roll out the dough and cut with a biscuit cutter, but I would only take the time to do that on special occasions. I can think up quite a few possible modifications including: add more liquid and some blueberries for muffins, add browned country sausage and shredded cheese for all-in-one breakfast biscuits (use milk for the liquid), add bananas or zucchini and spices and bake in a loaf pan for banana bread. Once you get a feel for how much liquid you need for each variation and figure out how well your baking powder rises, you can modify it to suit your needs with very little trouble. There really is very little difference between biscuits, cake, scones, muffins, and bread. Learn what these differences are and you will be well on your way to mastering them all.

13 comments:

  1. I'm inspired! I'll try the basic bread first and then go from there. Thanks much for the post and great ideas.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks now that I am adding wheat back in I may use a variation of this because I am using whole wheat I am mixing in millet flour to soften it. You might want to add Monkey Bread to your list of possibilities. Rolling rounds of dough in cinnamon and sugar. Place them in a funnel pan to bake. Michelle

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey Michelle, Thanks for the monkey bread suggestion. I didn't even think of that.

    ReplyDelete
  4. monkey bread.. ive never had that even WITH gluten, so without should be easy. is there a flour mix without wheat that you love?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Nikki,
    I don't do a lot of wheat-free baking right now, but I have used combinations of the following flours: gram (chickpea), coconut, brown rice, quinoa and almond. My favorite for making breads by far is gram flour, but I like quinoa flour for dredging. Gram flour (Besan) can be found at Indian groceries and it is great for making muffins and fritters....look up Pakora recipes.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Gram flour is gluten free? (maybe i'm thinking graham...)
    and.. whats dredging?
    thank for the info! :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yes, gram flour is actually garbanzo bean flour (chickpeas) popular in Indian and French cuisine and graham flour is a type of grain flour. Dredging is when you coat something with flour before pan frying it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. ooh, not QUITE up to trying beans just yet. I'm making this right now with only gf flours, will let you know how it turns out tomorrow :) I think I will use water and butter (or maybe a little bit of milk), and sprinkle cheese over one half and currants and cinnamon over another, and let our spreads really be what makes it savory or sweet. if i can get a good base flour recipe down... i win! I am sometimes jealous how easy grabbing wheat flour is. but i guess i am just learning more options. right :)

    have you been reading michael Ruhlman's book "ratio"? ruhlman.com too
    its the difference between pancakes, and muffins, and quickbreads. glutenfreegirl.com is also one of many participating in the "ratio rally". each month people submit recipes (not all gluten free, but a LOT), following these ratios, so people can get more practice and inspiration. its really fun to see what theyve come up with. i need to get a good flour ratio again! :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I haven't seen the book or the blogs until I followed your links. I was just taught to cook using texture, smell, ratios, etc. instead of relying on exact measurements for everything. It has helped me so much in creating recipes that are corn-free. Thanks for the links, I have some interesting reading waiting for me.

    BTW, I know of at least two gluten-free ladies that buy certain alternative flours and just dump them all together to use in recipes. I don't know which flours they specifically use, but I believe they are both different.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This is the most amazing bread I've had since going wheat/corn free. I made it with oat and tapioca and it was wonderful!!

    Thank you so much!!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Val, I'm so glad you enjoyed it! We make it instead of sandwich bread around here and toast it in my Greenpan skillet when we want toast. As a matter of fact, I need to make some today.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh, can you tell me more about toasting bread in a skillet?
    And I linked this post to facebook, with credit- hope thats ok! :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hey Nikki, I just slice the bread and then place it in a dry Greenpan skillet (nonstick but not teflon) on medium low heat until browned, then flip it over and do the other side. If we want cheese toast, I just add the very thin sliced or grated cheese on top after I flip it and put a lid on it while browning the bottom. This melts the cheese and toasts the other side at the same time. Granulated garlic and a touch of salt is great on Swiss or Blarney Castle cheese.

    ReplyDelete