wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Easy Sandwich Buns

A bread machine can do more than just make bread. I haven’t made bread in it for ages. I’ve found that it’s quicker and easier to make flat buns. I’ll talk about the recipe at the end.

The advantages of making these buns instead of bread:

  • you can freeze the buns in ziplocs, six or eight to a bag and take out one or two as you need them
  • you don’t have half a loaf of bread that is less than fresh, sitting in the fridge
  • the buns are almost as fresh as if they were just out of the oven if you put the frozen bun in the microwave for 20+ seconds
  • they make great sandwiches
  • toast them if you want
  • you don’t use your bread machine for baking as much because you only use the dough setting, and so you prolong the life of your paddles and the “plastic” seals that seat them (you don’t bake the seals, which always seem to be the first to go in a bread machine).

 

When  the two hours of the dough setting have timed out and your dough is mixed and has risen, place the dough on a board and cut in half.

 

Press one half into a rectangle. You can use a rolling pin or just press with your hands. I just use my hands. Then cut the piece once lengthwise and then make cuts for eight pieces. Place those pieces on a buttered baking sheet. Do the same for the second piece of dough and place on a second baking sheet.

Whisk one whole egg in a small bowl. If my whisk isn’t handy I use a fork.

With a pastry brush, paint the beaten egg over the top of each bun. If you have a dog or cat, you might want to put that leftover egg in the microwave for a few seconds and after it cools, give them a treat.

After I brushed these buns with egg, I sprinkled cardamom and cumin on them, having ground some cardamom and cumin seeds in an old coffee grinder. I also sprinkled a few grains of coarse salt on the buns, but these are things that you can omit if they don’t suit your taste buds.  You can make up your own toppings to sprinkle on, or have none.

I put my oven on very low for a few minutes and then turn it off. When it is just barely warm, I place the two baking sheets in the oven to rise for about 20 minutes or so.

Then I take them out, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake the buns, one sheet at a time, for 22 minutes each. If I had a bigger oven or a convection oven I might be able to bake both baking sheets at once, but you know your own oven and will be able to figure out what works for you.

 

For these buns, you can change the basic recipe and play around with your ingredients to suit your own preferences.

Basically:

2 cups of  lukewarm liquid

2 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. honey (or sugar)

2 tsp. salt

5 cups flour

2 tsp. fast acting  (instant) yeast

*****

What I do:

I pour two cups of milk into a big measuring cup and put it in the microwave for two minutes.

Pour the milk into the bread pan in the bread machine.

Add the butter, salt, and honey.

Then, instead of using 5 cups of flour, I substitute for one of the cups of flour and use rolled oats, or Sunnyboy cereal, or cracked wheat, or whatever I feel like adding. Sometimes it’s a mixture of the above.

If I have them handy, I like to add a tablespoon of fennel seeds from my garden. I collect them in the fall and dry them, and they are so handy for baking or for adding to a mint tea.

On top of the flour, I add two teaspoons of the instant yeast.

*****

One last thing:

The buns work well for making garlic toast. Just cut a bun open as if you were making a sandwich, and then cut the two pieces in half. Spread with crushed garlic and butter. Toast under the broiler for a VERY short time. Use a timer, one minute at a time.

 

They also work really well for making paninis.

 


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The Car Thief – a True Story

“The car sure is nicer to drive than my truck.” I relaxed into the velour seat back. “It’s like a luxury limousine.”

My mother-in-law smiled. “Harris loves his car. Keeps it in good condition.”

“He’s a real car buff, isn’t he?”

“Oh, yes. Always has been. Ever since we were married, sixty-six years ago,” Myrtle said. “He’s very fussy about his cars.”

“I’m surprised he let me drive it. But I guess he wants you to be comfortable .”

“That’s right. Now don’t take this the wrong way, but Harris thinks ladies shouldn’t have to ride in trucks, and I know you don’t have a choice.  But it is a long drive to Nanaimo and he thought we’d enjoy it more if we took his car.”

“It’s a treat to drive a car for a change. Feels like we’re floating along in a dream.” I was pleased that Harris trusted me to drive it. He had it all shined up on the outside and vacuumed inside. “You wouldn’t know it was ten years old. You still see lots of them around but not many in good shape like this one. It’s like a brand new car.”

“He spent hours on it yesterday,” Myrtle said.

“It’s our lucky day. Parking spot right by the door. Doesn’t look too busy yet either,” I said as I looked through the large plate glass window of our favorite bakery.

Lunch was delicious as always, and half an hour later, we came out of the bakery loaded down with bags of rye bread and buns.

“Hope I can still fit into some clothes after that lunch. Where would you like to shop first, Myrtle?”

“You lead the way. You always find good quality places to shop.”

“Hang on a sec,” I said. “Here. Can you hold the bread while I get the door for you?”  I fished Harris’s keys out of my purse. “I know one of these is for unlocking and the other is for starting the car,” I mumbled to myself as I fit one of the keys into the lock.

The door wouldn’t open. Myrtle stood by the car waiting patiently.

“Must be the other key. Don’t worry. I’ll have it open in a sec.” I flipped the keychain around and tried the second key. It too, was sticky going into the lock. “Maybe I had it upside down.” I turned it and again jiggled it in the lock. No luck. “That’s funny.…”

“Anneli. What does that man want?” Myrtle pointed at the bakery window.

A middle-aged man inside the bakery was leaning over the bench seat, banging on the window with the palm of his hand.

“I don’t know but he looks mad at us.  Why’s he pointing at the car?” I looked up at him with a puzzled frown.

“Now he’s pointing at himself.”

I looked at Harris’s keys, then at the angry man at the window. He was still pointing at the car and at himself. I turned to look at Myrtle and that’s when I saw it. Parked next to the vehicle I was trying to enter—Harris’s car.

*****

If you are interested in easy writing tips, please visit my other blog https://annelisplace.wordpress.com/


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Not Christmas

No snow for Christmas. Just wind and rain.

While it looks pretty to have snow, it’s safer for driving if the precipitation is just water, not ice or snow.

So here we have the view today.

Blustery, gray, wet! When you see whitecaps on the water, you know it’s breezy.

Since it doesn’t look like Christmas, I decided that my baking didn’t have to be Christmassy either. Just plain comfort food is good today.

Apple pies await.

 

And the staff of life, bread, is almost ready to come out of the oven. Not Christmas bread; just bread.

(The pale part of the bread is from the light in the kitchen.)

 


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“I lied, Miss Scarlett!”

“I lied, Miss Scarlett. I don’t know nuthin’ ’bout  taking a break from bloggin’.”

Okay, I’m a dog.

I can’t help but blog.

While taking a break,

I started to bake,

I thought it looked good

And I’d share if I could,

But this photo for you

Is the best I can do.

The loaf on the right

Is a terrible sight,

But the scrap piece of pie

Was consumed with a sigh.


49 Comments

A Morning’s Baking

8:56 a.m. and I have a morning’s baking done. Mother’s Day is coming up so I wanted to bake our favourite cake that my friend Ariane turned me onto. She was looking for something gluten free and baked this cake when I visited her. I don’t care about whether it’s gluten free or not, but it was important to her, and so it might be good for others out there who are also gluten intolerant. You can find Ariane’s recipe at the end of this post. It’s supposed to be an almond cake but I have several hazelnut trees in my yard so I experimented by substituting hazelnuts and it worked just fine.

You have to imagine this cake on a pretty plate, served with dollops of whipped cream, or ice cream if you want to do the easy route. Either way, it’s the best cake I’ve tasted in a long time and it’s VERY easy to make. Thank you, Ariane!002

The rest of the things in the photo were put together while the cake was baking. On the left, is the easy ciabatta bread that I learned about in the ciabatta bread video (Click on “bread” to view the tutorial on easy ciabatta bread) and in the top of the photo is my usual (60%) whole wheat bread dough with milk, honey, and caraway.

The muffins were an afterthought because I had ground hazelnuts left over from the cake, so I added a tiny bit of flour, some currants, baking powder, salt, sugar, milk eggs, melted butter. It was easy because all the ingredients were already on the table.

I just noticed that the muffin tin looks well used. Oh well … better than sitting in the cupboard all shiny and never used.

Now, will it be tea or coffee with your muffin? Sorry, I can’t serve the cake until tomorrow. It’s especially made for my mother-in-law. But you’re welcome to a muffin.

Ariane’s Lemon Ricotta Almond Cake

2 cups almond meal (I use hazelnuts because I have them – grind them in the food processor with the fine grater blade, or you can use the cutter blades and chop until the hazelnuts turn to meal – it’s noisy).

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

3 large eggs

1 cup (or less) sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups ricotta cheese (I use cottage cheese – works just fine)

juice of one lemon (about 3 Tbsp.)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl, combine almond meal, baking powder and salt.
  • In a medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients and mix well. (I do this in the food processor, processing the cottage cheese until smooth and then adding the other ingredients).
  • Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir well until smooth.
  • Pour mixture into buttered 9-in. pan, deep pie dish, or springform pan (my favourite).
  • Bake 55-60 min. until cake is completely puffed up, no longer jiggly in the center, and golden brown on the edges.
  • Cool cake completely (it will deflate) and chill in fridge at least 4 hrs. before serving.
  • Cake remains moist and is better the next day.  Serve with whipped cream, or ice cream, or garnish with lemon zest. Cut slices small like you would cheesecake. It’s very filling. You can always have a second slice…. You probably will.