Strong Arms for Kids

I made these rolls to use as hamburger buns for my Almond Lentil Burgers I made last weekend.  I definitely still need to work on my shaping and weighing of the dough but the flavor was there.  The recipe said it made 16 rolls.  I wanted the rolls bigger because they were going to be hamburger buns, so I made eight rolls from the recipe.  I think each bun weighed about 5 pounds (after baking), but my mom had a good idea to cut out the center, save that for breakfast and use the bottom and top for the buns.  It worked out great!

1 cup medium grain bulghur
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 cup unbleached white bread flour

2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp salt
3 to 4 cups unbleached white bread flour

1 egg beaten

Place bulghur in a large heatproof bowl and cover with the boiling water.  Add the butter, stir, and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, make the batter or "sponge".  In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water.  When the bulghur has cooled for about 15 minutes, add the yeast mixture, brown sugar, and the cup of flour.  Beat for 100 strokes (about 3 minutes).  Cover the bowl with a damp towel and set it aside to rise in a warm place until the mixture bubbles, about 45 minutes.

Uncover the sponge and stir in the beaten eggs, salt, and 2 to 2 1/2 cups of the flour to make a dough stiff enough to knead.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it is elastic, 8 to 10 minutes.  Oil the bowl; then return the kneaded dough to it and turn it over to coat both sides with the oil.  Cover the bowl with the damp towel and set aside in a warm, draft-free place until the dough has doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes. 

Lightly oil a large baking sheet.

Punch down the dough and turn it onto a cutting board.  Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces.  Roll each piece into a ball and place the balls of dough about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.  Cover with a damp towel and let rise again for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

After the rolls have risen, brush the tops of the rolls with the 1 beaten eggs.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden and hollow sounding when tapped.  Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Sorry I really can't be arsed to post this whole recipe, just wanted to show off my accomplishment.  The recipe is from Paul Reinhart's Whole Grain Bread recipe book.  Its the Transitional Multigrain Hearth Bread.  The first time I made this recipe, I made it in the shape of a baguette.  The crust was so hard, it was pretty much inedible.  This time I made it in a boule shape.  I know the crust is supposed to be crunchy but its still a bit too crunchy, but this time it is definitely edible.  Please if anyone knows any reason why my crust might be coming out a little too hard, please write me and let me know.  I don't know what I am doing wrong.
I literally just finished reading the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and am thoroughly impressed.  I truly enjoyed reading this book.  I was jealous of her exploding cherry trees, inspired by her homemade cheese-making and left motivated to try and eat more locally and seasonally.  There are tons of delicious recipes in the book shared by Barbara's daughter Camille.  Luckily, since I borrowed this book from the library, you can find all her delicious recipes and download from the internet at  The first recipe I borrowed from her book, was her incredibly easy pizza dough recipe.  This, hands down, was the easiest pizza dough recipe I have ever tried, and didn't taste so bad either.  I thought it was so cute how Barbara and her family have pizza and movie night every Friday night. 

Even though the pizza dough recipe was simple enough, the idea for the toppings took me a while.  The first pizza was simple enough, I had an extra eggplant in the fridge, so I just worked around the eggplant.  The second pizza wasn't as simple.  I wanted to work around the seasonal theme and since strawberries are the thing at the moment, I tried to somehow make a pizza using strawberries a culinary success story.  I don't know how it happened, but it worked. 

The Easiest Pizza Dough EVER!!! by Barbara Kingsolver and family

FRIDAY NIGHT PIZZA  (Makes two 12-inch pizzas)
3 tsp. yeast             11⁄2 cups WARM water           3 tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. salt                21⁄2 cups white flour               2 cups whole wheat flour
To make crust, dissolve the yeast into the warm water and add oil and salt to that
mixture.  Mix the flours and knead them into the liquid mixture.  Let dough rise for
30 to 40 minutes.

  Once the dough has risen, divide it in half and roll out two round 12 inch
pizza crusts on a clean, floured countertop, using your fingers to roll the
perimeter into on outer crust as thick as you like. Using spatulas, slide the crusts onto well floured pans or baking stones and spread toppings.
Pizza #1
     This pizza lacked a little flavor but with a few minor adjustments I am sure I could make it really tasty. I think next time I will use a little more cheese, a little more garlic and some salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  First slice up an eggplant in about 1/4 inch slices.  Brush some olive oil on both sides and sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides, as well.  Put in the oven for 10 minutes.  When the ten minutes is up, flip them over and put them in for another 10 minutes. 

In the meantime, slice four tomatoes, 3 cloves of garlic (in thin slices), 1/2 green pepper (in thin slices), slice mozzarella (in thin slices) and finally chop some parsley. 

Once the eggplant is ready, spread out your pizza dough and start by spreading out the tomatoes.  Next spread the eggplants over the tomatoes.  Add the peppers, then the cheese and finally the garlic.  Once all that is on, drip some olive oil over everything, and add some extra salt and pepper.  Put in the oven for 25 minutes on 450 degrees.  After about 15 minutes in the over, sprinkle the parsley over the pizza and put back in the oven until the full 25 minutes is up.  And presto...delicious pizza.
Pizza #2

Start by thinly slicing strawberries and some peaches.  Next chop up some fresh basil.  After the prepping is done, spread out the pizza dough and start by spreading out the strawberries.  Next add the peaches to the mix.  Sprinkle feta cheese all over the pizza.  Spread out the basil and then drizzle balsamic vinegar all over the pizza.  Place in a 450 degree oven for 25 minutes and you will have a surprisingly delicious pizza, that is delicious hot and just as good the next day straight out of the refrigerator. 
You should all be proud of me...I am branching out on my squashes.  If the world was a perfect place, I would eat kabocha everyday of my life (and a mango, as well).  But the world isn't perfect and so it allows me to try out all different types of squashes and pumpkins.  This bread uses acorn squash.  I find this recipe on the most imaginative bread recipe blog out there...even the name is really cute The Knead for Bread.  This bread has a perfect texture, slightly moist, with a touch of sweetness.  I copied the recipe almost exactly, except I didn't have whole flax seeds (my mom didn't have any because they are no use nutritionally in their whole form, can't blame her for not buying them), so I put some oats on top, instead.

Ingredients Squash Ingredients
  • 1 acorn squash
  • 2 teaspoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
Day before:
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • "Day of"
  • 2 3/4 to 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup mashed squash ( above )
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 2 tablespoon flax seeds
Method Take your acorn squash and cut in half ( length wise ). Take a fork and poke holes all around the inside of the squash. Spread butter all around the inside of both halves. Pour equal amounts of brown surgar and maple syrup between both halves. Place the squash into a baking dish and add enough water to fill the dish about 1 to 2 inches. Bake in a preheated oven for 1 hour or till the squash is soft when poking with a fork. After baked, remove the inside of the squash and mash with a fork. Reserve one cup of the mashed squash and eat the rest. ( You can do all this the day before ). Take the "day before" ingredients and mix together in a bowl with a wooden spoon. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest on the counter for 12 - 16 hours. In a large bowl pour out the " day before" mixture. It should have grown and bubbled. Add in the mashed squash, water, salt and instant yeast. Mix with a wooden spoon till the mixture is smooth. Add in the flax meal and the flax seeds. Mix till well blended. Add in half the whole wheat flour and mix till smooth. Slowly add the rest of the flour a little at a time, about a heaping tablespoon. When it becomes to hard to mix, pour out onto a flat surface and knead the dough for about 8 minutes. You may need a little more flour, but you want the dough to be a little on the sticky side. After kneading, add a little oil to a large bowl. Place kneaded dough and flip over a few times to lightly coat all sides of the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 1 1/2 hours or till double in bulk. Remove dough from bowl and press to release the gas. Cut into 2 equal parts. Shape into 2 round balls and place onto a piece of parchment paper sprinkled with cornmeal ( optional). Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 1 hour or till double in bulk. Remove the plastic wrap. Take an egg white and beat till foamy. Brush the tops of the dough with the foam and sprinkle a little flax seeds on top. Score the top of the breads with a sharp knife. Place into a preheated 375 degree oven with a baking stone or on a cookie sheet. Create some steam by placing a cast iron pan on the bottom of the oven the same time that you turn on the oven. Once you place the breads into the oven pour about a cup of boiling water into the hot pan and close the door. Bake for 30 minutes or till when tapped on the bottom of the loaf it sounds hollow.


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