My niece Claire and nephew Henry are joining us for the holidays this year and I’m so excited for their visit! They’re at that adorable age where everything related to Christmas is magical – especially Santa’s visit on Christmas Eve. To help keep Santa nourished on his round-the-world-in-one-night adventure, we’re leaving him a plate of cookies with a glass of milk (fat-free, of course!). These scrumptious cookies are made with oatmeal, whole-wheat flour, almonds and dried fruit, to add a sprinkle of nutrition. They’re a favorite in our family, so I know Santa will love them, too.
½ cup stick margarine*
2/3 cup brown sugar
½ cup applesauce
¼ cup Lucerne Best of the Egg Whites egg substitute
2 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cup whole-wheat flour
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup Safeway Old Fashioned Oats
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup slivered almonds
½ cup O Organics Dried Cranberries, chopped
½ cup Safeway Kitchens Dried Fancy Apricots, chopped
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375°. Beat together margarine and sugar in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add applesauce, egg whites and vanilla, then spoon in both flours, oatmeal, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon; mix until just combined. Stir in almonds, cranberries, apricots and chocolate chips.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoon onto cookie sheets, and gently press down on cookies to slightly flatten. Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for two minutes, then move to wire racks to cool completely.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
* Choose stick margarine that contains 65% or more vegetable oil, with 0 g trans-fat and no hydrogenated oils
Per cookie: Calories: 140; Fat: 7 g (Saturated Fat: 2 g); Trans Fat: 0 g; Protein: 2 g; Carbohydrates: 17 g; Fiber: 1 g; Sodium: 90 mg.
Summer is the best time of year, from picnics at the beach to hiking great trails or just enjoying the beautiful mountains! What is your favorite lunch to pack for your adventure? For me, it has to be simple, easy to serve and easy to eat! Also, a little sweetness is also requirement, so pack a few outdoor friendly desserts in your cooler and let’s go!
Indoor S’mores – Pack these in advance, all you need is an oven, chocolate, gram crackers, and big puffy marshmallows!
Directions: Take 8 squares of graham cracker and met them on a shallow metal pan. Top each with a square of chocolate, add a slice of marshmallows! Put the pan in the 400 degree oven for about 3 minutes or until marshmallows are golden brown. Top each with another graham cracker square and the fun will begin after a game of Frisbee or your hike!
Chocolate Covered Strawberries: These are great and nutritious, and will give you that kick of energy after a climb!
1lb of strawberries, washed and dried
3 oz white chocolate, chopped
6oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
Chopped nuts (optional)
Spring is in the air and Easter is just right around the corner! What will you be serving up this year, a full blown Brunch, and elegant dinner, or are you keeping it simple? Well, if you are anything like me, I like to keep it simple! I like to accessorize store bought desserts with my own flair, from toppings to fresh fruit; the key is to make them look homemade! Here are some quick ideas to turn a plain cheesecake into an Easter Delight!
First, pick up a fresh plain 7” New York or Cream Style Cheesecake from Safeway Bakery. Next, choose from any of the homemade toppings below and you have everyone hopping down the bunny trail.
Topping #1 Lemon Curd Cheesecake
Topping #2 Ambrosia Cheesecake
Mix together all ingredients. Spoon desired amount of topping over chilled cheesecake.
Topping #3 Pomegranate Cheesecake
Football is in the air and it’s time to start planning your football party! Last year, I had great success with two simple cheese ball recipes! These are easy to make, and will be a sure touchdown with your guests! Serve with your favorite Pinot Noir which compliments either recipe below. Add sliced veggies too for a healthier option!
3 packs cream cheese
1 tbsp. Worcestershire
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 bunch green onions – diced w/ scallions
1 c. Irish Dubliner cheddar cheese - shredded
3/4 c. crumbled gorgonzola Cheese
1 small shallot - diced
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of pepper
1 c. chopped pecans
2 Artisan Sesame Seed Filone Bread (available at Safeway Bakery!)
One simple idea for entertaining this season is a Champagne & Sweets Open House! If you’re not up for the full blown holiday party, with heavy hors d'oeuvres, drinks and dips, why not invite some friends over for a simple, elegant after-dinner treat! Turn on some Burl Ives, bring out your pedestal dessert platters and champagne flutes, and have some fun.
First things first – choose your color theme! From the flowers, to serving platters, to napkins, ribbon and decorations, pick one festive color to spruce up you clear, white or silver dishes serving dishes!
Next, pick your favorite champagnes or dessert wines! I like to have a variety available. Put out the flutes and let your guests serve themselves at their own pace.
Next, pick fun cookies, candy and desserts that you love! My favorite desserts are the ones that you can find already prepared at Safeway Bakery! If you’re up to it, you can even make fun finger desserts such as fruit skewers! Enjoy your holiday season!
Must-Have Bite Size Desserts available at Safeway!
Caramel Apples – Keep chilled, slice into wedges for your serving trays
Brownie Bites – Top with whip cream and a decadent raspberry!
Cream Puffs – Dip in chocolate for an extra special touch!
Red Velvet Cupcakes or Mini Cupcakes
Fruit Skewers Recipe:
Cut larger fruit into bite size chunks, assemble skewers and drizzle with honey.
Can you remember that sweet smell of fresh baked Pumpkin Pie as a kid? I still have fond memories of baking with my grandmother and getting to make my own special cinnamon sugar twists from unused portions of pie crust! What are you going to serve for this Thanksgiving holiday? Is it going to be a homemade Pumpkin–Pecan Pie that will give your home the smell of the season, or are you starved for time and want something that is both elegant and simple to serve?
If you want easy pre-made desserts that will surely impress your guests, come by Safeway Bakery and pick up one of our Pumpkin Streusel Cheesecakes or Pumpkin Mousse Cakes! These are a twist to your typical pumpkin pie, but are light and fluffy and a delicious way to celebrate the season! I recommend having at least two desserts available, perhaps one pre-made and one of your own!
Here is a decadent recipe for a Pumpkin–Pecan Pie!
Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year! Weather is starting to cool down, leaves are starting to fall and mystery starts to fill the air! I love to see all the pumpkins perched up on the front porches just waiting to be carved, and the thing that makes me most happy is that first bite in to a refreshing Caramel Apple!
Carmel Apple decorating is easy and you can get really creative with ingredients!
Start with some Fresh Granny Smith Apples. Ensure they are washed and dried thoroughly before dipping in the caramel. Next, I like to pick tasty toppings like nuts, mini yogurt chips, and sprinkles, but the kids really like things like candy corn or mini marshmallows, cereal or candy! I suggest adding a bit of “spooky fun” with oreo cookie crumbs and gummy worms! Get creative and have some fun!
8 Granny Smith Apples
1 cup heavy cream, divided
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 popsicle sticks
Toppings – your choice
First step is to wash and completely dry the apples. Insert a stick into the stem end of each apple.
Line a 7-by-11-inch baking pan with foil. Place your toppings on the foil for dipping.
Fit a heavy-bottomed saucepan with a candy thermometer. Over high heat, cook 3/4 cup of the cream, the corn syrup, butter and sugar to 280 degrees F (firm ball); at this point the syrup will be golden. Remove from the heat and carefully swirl in the remaining 1/4 cup of cream and the vanilla. Please be careful, as the caramel is very hot and it may splatter.
While the caramel is hot, dip and turn the apples into the caramel to coat and let the excess drip off.
Dip the bottoms into your toppings of choice. Arrange the apples on a nonstick or waxed paper-lined cookie sheet and let cool.
Have you seen the new chocolate chunk cookies from Open Nature? Found in the bakery section, they are loaded with chocolate and made without any artificial flavors or preservatives and no high fructose corn syrup! I like to warm them up for about 15 seconds in the microwave so the chocolate starts to melt and the butter flavor really starts to come through. Give them a try and let me know what you think!
We’re halfway through the summer and we’re trying to keep up with all of our friends and family! One of my favorite things to take to a party is Spinach Dip – without the fat! It’s quick, easy and your guests will be pleasantly surprised! First things first, pick up your Sourdough Bread Bowl and Sourdough Baguettes or French Baguette from Safeway Bakery fresh on that day! Next, follow the recipe below and you have a fabulous dip to take to your party!
Light & Lively Spinach Dip
Additional serving suggestions – add sliced cucumber, celery and baby carrots for an even healthier option!
One of my favorite desserts for summer is not only healthy, but colorful and a definite crowd pleaser at any BBQ or summertime get-together! This fabulous dessert incorporates some of my favorite stone fruits available in produce this season! Fresh peaches, plums, and nectarines are all a perfect treat for dessert, and even better when paired with a delicious low fat Angel Food Cake from the Bakery! You can add flair with ice cream or whip cream, or keep it simple and low fat - let each guest choose!
1 c. Blackberries
2 Tbsp. Sugar
¼ c. Brandy
Ice Cream or Whip Cream (optional)
Mint Leaves (garnish)
Angel Food Cake – Safeway Bakery
Slice peaches, plums, and nectarines into sections. Add brandy, sugar, and mix gently. Fold in the blueberries and blackberries and chill for 20 minutes.
Slice Angel Food Cake into sections. Add fresh fruit and top with ice cream or whip cream! Garnish with a mint leaf.
It seems that every baker has a different story on how a German Chocolate Cake came to be. So armed with the internet and Google, I set out to get the “real” story. It turns out that the cake is not German, but the inventor of the chocolate used in the cake was an Englishman named Sam German. That was back in 1852. In the 1950’s a Dallas homemaker sent a recipe to the local newspaper for “German’s Chocolate Cake”. The new cake spread like wildfire with newspapers picking up the recipe and printing it in their own area. There are many variations as the cake evolved over the years. The original recipe called for buttermilk as a liquid, and when combined with baking soda it created a lighter colored chocolate cake. The German Chocolate cakes you are likely to see today range from a light pale chocolate cake to rich dark chocolate. The topping is made with pecans, butter, eggs, and coconut and this combination is what separates the German Chocolate cake from all the rest. It’s more like candy than an icing, and the pecans and coconut keep it from tasting too sweet. What’s the best German Chocolate cake? If you can’t make your own from scratch at home, then my recommendation is your neighborhood Safeway bakery. Our rich moist chocolate cake layers combined with the German Chocolate topping is a cake that just can’t be beat. Try one, and let me know what you think.
There are probably 50 different French breads available in most areas, but how many of them are really good? I would say that Safeway’s French bread is among the top in every area. Why? Because it is made from scratch and baked several times a day. This gives our French bread it distinctive flavor, and it’s why no other supermarket can copy it. The dough is mixed and formed into loaves, to maximize the subtle flavors found only in this long fermentation process.
When it is baked, the loaves are scored (cut) with three diagonal cuts. This releases the pressure inside the loaf as it heats up. The perfect loaf has ridges on one side of the cut that bakers call a “sail”. The bread is steamed for 20 seconds as it goes in a very hot oven to form a crispy crust. After ten minutes, the heat is turned down and bread remains in the oven for twenty minutes until it is a dark golden brown. A lot of people think that the crust is too dark until they taste it. The natural occurring sugars caramelize to create the unique flavor of the crust, and this flavor only happens when the bread is a dark golden brown.
So now you know what to look for, stop by your Safeway bakery to pick up some of the best French bread you have ever eaten. By the way, it comes out of the oven at 4, 5, and 6 PM so you not only get the best tasting bread, you get it hot out of the oven. Let me know how you like it, I know you will be impressed.
Valentine’s Day is approaching quickly. It will be time for greeting cards, roses, chocolates, decadent desserts, a special meal, and maybe even a bottle of Champagne. You know that I am going to tell you about all the decadent Valentine goodies available in the bakery including our new gourmet cup cakes, heart cookies, mini heart cakes and a multitude of chocolate desserts for the most discriminating chocolate lover. Did you know that we also have everything else you will need for Valentine’s Day?
In the bakery we are featuring our annual Valentine Workshop. Purchase a mini heart cake, or any other cake for that matter, and you or your child can put the inscription on the cake yourself. We will have bakery helpers to help kids of all ages decorate a cake for that special someone. I know my granddaughters always look forward to “making a cake” for mom and one for dad. So join the fun and stop by your neighborhood Safeway bakery and bring the kids. Oh yes, don’t forget your camera.
Stop by or call your local bakery for dates and times!
When bread was baked in the early eighteen hundreds, the flour used was whole wheat. The reason was simple; the milled flour contained the entire wheat grain, so the flour was laced with the crushed bran coating of the wheat seed. An unknown baker found a way to make the flour whiter, by removing the bran coating. This was the birth of white bread. In those days only the rich could afford white bread because of the extra expense of removing the bran from the wheat. Later it was discovered that the coveted white bread didn’t have much nutrition, so it needed to be enriched to equal the nutrition of it whole wheat cousin. Even with this addition, it lacked fiber, and some of the amino acids found only in whole wheat bread.
That brings us up to today. We all know whole wheat bread is better for us, but some people just don’t like the flavor. The flavor of whole wheat is enhanced by the tannins that make bran shell brown. So when my kids said they didn’t like the taste, they were actually onto something. What to do? Look for the ingredient “white whole wheat flour”. This seems to be an oxymoron, but it’s real. The bran layer of this wheat is actually white, and it does not contain the tannins that give brown whole wheat its flavor.
In January our bakeries will be introducing two new breads that contain the white whole wheat flour. For some families, this taste might be the difference of eating whole grain breads or passing on them. Be sure to stop by the bakery and try a sample of our new All Natural Breads: Oatmeal Crunch and Apple Crisp. Whole grains never tasted so good.
I was thinking about all the different kinds of cookies I have tasted over the years working in the bakery. I went online to try to find out the history of cookies and was very surprised to find that they were originally small amounts of cake batter that was poured on a pan to determine if the oven was set at the right temperature (long before thermostats)
Cookies really became popular with the “invention” of chocolate chip cookies in the 1930’s by Ruth Wakefield from the “Toll House Inn” that she and her husband operated. Since that time the average American eats 300 cookies per year.
The blend of butter, brown sugar, vanilla, chocolate, and walnuts baking creates a unique aroma that is unmatched. At Safeway we still use the same ingredients that have been used for years, and if you happen to be in the store when the cookies are baking, you are in for a real treat.
We have our famous Chocolate Chewie Cookie, Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin, Snickerdoodle, Oatmeal Cranberry, Sugar, M&M Cookies, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Susans, Butter Cookies, Biscotti, Teddy Bear Cookies, Iced Animal Cookies, Coconut Macaroons, and the list goes on and on. So the next time you are in Safeway, stop by the bakery and see the great assortment, I am sure you will find a variety that will be number one on your list. What’s my favorite? I don’t need to go past the Chocolate Chip cookies, they win out every time.
Interestingly December 27 is National Fruitcake Day. Fruitcake is probably the most maligned product ever made in a bakery. We all know the jokes about fruitcake being a door stop, or the ultimate re-gifting item, but are there any fruitcakes worth eating?
It started with the Egyptians making a fruit filled cake for the deceased to take with them into the afterlife. In the Roman times it was a cake filled with fruits and nuts and carried by the Roman soldiers. It could be kept for a long time without refrigeration. In the Victorian Days in England, fruitcake was highly regarded because of the Mediterranean fruits it contained.
The two largest fruitcake companies in the United States make and ship over two million pounds, so I think there are many people that really enjoy fruitcake. In my experience the actual fruit in the cake is what determines the final taste. A less expensive cake has a lot of watermelon rind, and citrus peel. If that were the only fruitcake I had ever tried, I probably wouldn’t like it either. It is sweet with very little fruit taste other than the citrus oil taste imparted by the peel.
At Safeway, we don’t use watermelon rind or citrus peel. Our fruitcake has only the finest candied cherries, golden raisins and pineapple mixed with walnuts and pecans. So if you want to find out what truly gourmet fruitcake tastes like, stop by the bakery and try a sample, you will be impressed.
Did you know that cakes started out as small loaves of bread leavened with yeast? Then in the 19th century, baking soda and later baking powder were used as a leavening agent. Bakers then started adding flavoring ingredients, eggs, and fat to create what we today know as cake. At our store the cakes have been refined even more. They are mixed, baked and then flash frozen so none of the moisture escapes. Then they are iced with a variety of decadent icings to create the perfect compliment to any meal or special occasion.
Can you imagine a wedding, birthday party, or anniversary celebration without a cake? You don’t have to. At our bakery you can pick Chocolate Fudge, Carrot Cake, German Chocolate Cake, Red Velvet Cake, Mousse Cake, Cheesecake, Raspberry Cake, and Lemon Cake. The list goes on and on. If you can’t use a whole cake (like me), you can get a cake slice that’s the same high quality. It’s making me hungry just writing about them. So next time you are in your local store bakery, take a look at the tempting varieties of our cakes, and be assured that nobody makes a fresher or more flavorful cake. Try your favorite, I know you will agree.
The smell of pumpkin pies always evokes memories of days gone by. All the Jack O Lanterns were saved and the bright orange pumpkin was cut carefully from the skin. The pieces of pumpkin then made their way to the refrigerator where they would spend the next few weeks. Then on the morning before Thanksgiving, something magical happened. The bland pumpkin was cooked and spices were added until the smell of Thanksgiving permeated the house and eventually the entire neighborhood. That’s the way it was done; ritually year after year. I tried to make pumpkin pie using the ways of the past, but never quite got the hang of it. When I went to work in the bakery, the pumpkin was already cooked. All the bakers had to do was mix it with our other “secret” ingredients to get flavorful pie. We would make thousands of pies on the day before. The next day when dessert was served, wonderful childhood memories of Thanksgiving would reappear just by savoring a piece of the pumpkin pie. The pies at the Safeway bakery are almost carbon copies of the way my mom used to make them, so I can enjoy those flavors without having to do the work. Give Safeway's Pumpkin Pie a try this Thanksgiving. You may rekindle some of your own memories, along with creating new ones for the next pumpkin pie lovers.
What would Monday Night Football be without Pizza coming fresh out of the oven at kick off time? Frozen pizzas are good, but they are not the same as a pizza from the corner pizza place. Problem with that is the crust gets soggy because it sat in a box before it was delivered. So, what to do?
To start you need to have perfect Pizza dough. To me the crust either makes or breaks any Pizza. Where can you get this perfect dough? Get it at your Safeway Bakery. Just call the morning you need French bread dough for your pizza and they will be happy to save it for you. Figure a one pound dough ball for every 12-16 inch Pizza.
When you pick up your dough, it will be refrigerated. Just leave it at room temperature for about an hour. Once the dough is warm, take a rolling pin and a little bit of flour and roll the dough on a suitable size counter top. Use only enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the counter. Keep rolling until the dough is about 12 inches around (if you like deep dish style Pizza). If you like thinner crust, keep rolling until the dough has reached 14 to 16 inches. Place the dough in a flat cookie sheet large enough to hold your pizza. Next put your favorite Pizza sauce on the top of the dough with a brush. Then load it with toppings such as Linguica, Italian Sausage, Pepperoni, fresh mushrooms, olives, onions, your favorite cheeses or others that you like. Let the Pizza sit for about a half hour so the dough can rise. Place in a 450° oven for 20-25 minutes. The crust should be a medium golden brown on the bottom of the pizza. Once you try this Pizza, you will be hooked. By the way, there is nothing better than making a special pizza for the “gang” and letting them know you have become a pizza chef.
Spaghetti is one of my favorite dinners. A rich sauce that has cooked all day is beyond compare. What would spaghetti be without some hot garlic bread to go with it? So I did a little experimenting and came up with a very tasty variation of traditional garlic bread. First take a loaf of French or Sourdough bread and cut it in half lengthwise. Mix one softened cube of butter or margarine with some garlic powder to taste. Spread mixture onto the two halves of bread. Put about one ounce of grated Parmesan cheese on each half. Crumble one ounce of Blue cheese on top of each half. Slice six green onions including some of the “green” part. Now sprinkle the onions on each half. Pre heat your oven to 425° and then bake the halves on a cookie sheet for eight minutes. The next time you are thinking about garlic bread, make this gourmet garlic bread. I think you will love it.
Summer is fading and the days are getting shorter and it’s almost time for school to begin. When school starts the topic of what’s for lunch is bound to come up. Our bread section has so many choices for sandwiches it’s hard to decide. Sliced white breads, wheat breads, whole grain breads, buns, and rolls, the list goes on and on. The one thing in common is they all make great sandwiches that are delicious and good for kids. Putting together a nutritious lunch makes sense these days. You can create a tasty lunch for less than the cost of a school lunch, and you know what your child is eating. Sending money for a school lunch may end up buying snacks and sodas.
The bakery also has some great dessert treats to go with that sandwich - cupcakes, brownies, cookies. Add some celery sticks and an apple from the produce department and you have a nutritious meal that you know kids will enjoy, and you don’t have to guess at what they eat for lunch.
I took my two granddaughters shopping last week. Thank goodness I just needed a few things. It is interesting how many times they can say “Grandpa, can we get this?” We did go by the bakery counter where they each got a free chocolate chip cookie. We got as far as the cake case and all I heard was “Grandpa, can we get this kind of cake for our next birthday?” I couldn’t imagine any of the cakes in the case appealing to kids. Boy was I wrong. Safeway bakeries now have a “Kids Section” in the cake case that has the latest decorating designs. Cupcakes, small cakes, large cakes all with one thing in common, they all have a kids theme. Both granddaughters had a ball looking at the choices. I am sure these will change, but seeing their eyes light up when they saw the kids corner means they will have fun picking out their special birthday cake. Of course it will have to be a little closer to their birthdays.
Cupcakes have come a long way since I started in the bakery business. They used to be pretty plain and certainly not very exciting. All that has changed, cupcakes are the hottest thing going right now. From class parties to formal weddings, cupcakes have found their niche. At Safeway, it’s no different. We have about twenty different designs for ‘cupcake’ cakes. That’s where the cupcakes are arranged to form a cake that is then decorated for birthdays, holidays, or other occasions. So stop by your Safeway bakery and take a look at cupcakes. I think you will be impressed with the designs and as always with the quality.
July 30th is National Cheesecake Day. I love cheesecake, and I have tried a lot of different kinds, but one thing is for sure, the best cheesecake comes right from the Safeway Bakery. The Colossal New York Cheesecake is the finest real baked cheesecake I have ever eaten. Just take some fresh fruit, or chocolate syrup and put over a slice of this wonderful cheesecake and you have an unrivaled dessert. While my favorite is the New York cheesecake, they have chocolate topped, cherry topped, and lemon raspberry. Stop by the bakery and pick up a slice, I am sure it will become your favorite too.
I used to make my own garlic bread because the bakery never carried Sourdough garlic bread, as they didn’t have a label or bag for it. Well needless to say, it’s Sourdough for me, or nothing. Then I found out that Parmesan cheese accents the flavors of the Sourdough and the garlic butter. I kept trying to get our product development people to “invent” a sourdough garlic bread, as good as mine, that our bakeries could make. Well, it’s here! The taste is as good as the garlic bread I made, but now I don’t have to make it, and it comes in a foil bag that can go in the oven or on the barbeque grill. I have found that some bakeries haven’t started making the sourdough garlic, but if you ask the bakery manager, I’m sure they will take care of you. I like things that are as good as home made, but without the work, and this is one of them.
I have had several requests for a gluten free bread formula. I know most everyone reading this will say ‘why a formula’? In baking, we use the terminology “formula” because it takes a precise formulation to make the bread consistently from batch to batch.
Making gluten free bread requires that the wheat flour be removed. That’s cool, but what do you put in its place? This formula was recommended to me (It requires a bread machine.) If you try this bread please let me know how it came out.
Gluten Free Sandwich Bread
1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 ½ c. water (105 degrees or pretty warm but not hot)
2 ½ cups "Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Mix Recipe” (Detailed Below)
2 tsp. xanthan gum (available at Health Food Stores)
2 eggs (or 6 Tbsp. water and 2 Tbsp. ground flax seed)
1 ½ Tbsp. oil
1 tsp. cider vinegar
1. Start by combining the yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Add the water while gently stirring the yeast and sugar. Let this mixture sit while you mix the rest of the ingredients – bubbles and foam should form if the yeast is happy.
2. Combine the flour mix, xanthan gum and salt in the largest mixing bowl and stir well.
3. In a third bowl, whisk the eggs, oil and vinegar until the eggs are a bit frothy.
4. By this point the yeast mixture should be foamy, so you can pour the two liquid mixtures into the flour mixture. Stir until all ingredients are well mixed and then dump into your bread machine. Bake on the 80 minute setting – the stirring paddle is not necessary.
Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Mix: (Parts can be cups or pounds depending on your needs)
3 parts corn starch
3 parts brown rice flour
2 parts soy flour
1 part masa harina
I think my favorite part of my job is passing on the knowledge that I have gained over the years about baking great bread. I look at it as the link between the past and the present. Bread was the first food made by man. Every civilization has had some form of bread, and amazingly they are all pretty close in form.
I get to meet many bakers in my job. We almost always share ideas on how to make a better product. I usually try them all, then keep what works, and get rid of the rest. In our latest baker training, I got to work with a bakery crew in Seattle. They were all eager to learn, they just weren’t quite sure how to make bread perfect. There was a language barrier, so the training was a little more challenging than usual. By working side by side, I could show them the processes, without having to use words. They would repeat what they were shown. Sometimes it took several attempts, but each time the bread got a little better. “Thumbs Up” is pretty universal, so every time they made an improvement over the last attempt, they would get the “Thumbs up” from me. It didn’t take long until they were proficient at the task, and you could see that they were developing the pride in workmanship that is so important to make quality bread.
So what’s the payoff? The people that I trained now make the best bread that can be made. They have developed pride in the product they make, and hopefully the pay off will come when they say “Here, let me show you how to make fabulous bread.” And so the legacy of Artisan bread goes on.
I can’t believe that it’s almost time for graduation again. It seems like yesterday that my two daughters graduated from college. Your local store Bakery has a special promotion during graduation to help you celebrate accomplishments and save you some money. If you order a quarter sheet decorated cake between April 26th and June 19th, you get upgraded to a half sheet at no extra charge. A half sheet serves 24-30 guests. We don’t charge extra for the cap and diploma to put on the cake like so many other bakeries do. So take advantage of this great deal from your neighborhood store’s bakery.
So you want to bake your own bread? Here’s the easiest way I know to make great bread at home (and you can take all the credit)! Give your store’s bakery a call and have them save a couple loaves of dough. The bakers set the dough the night before to bring out the great taste of the yeast and the acids they make. Your loaf will already be shaped. If you bring home dough and put in the fridge, remember to take it out about two hours before you bake. Put a little bit of corn meal on a baking pan and place the loaf on the corn meal- no need to use any oil. Let the loaf sit for about an hour at room temperature. If it is dry, you may need to mist the crust with water about every ten minutes. Preheat your oven to 450º. Just before you put your creation in the oven, mist the crust well, and mist the inside of the oven. Bake for about 15 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 390º and let it continue to bake for another 15-20 minutes. You want to take it out when it’s a dark golden brown. Good bread is darker than most people think it should be. The dark crust is caramelized sugars produced in the bread. These sugars form a complex taste that makes Artisan breads exceptional. So if you feel up to it, give my easy method a try. I do have to warn you though- once you start baking your own, you will be on a life-long quest to make that perfect loaf of bread.