Cast Iron Artisan Bread
- 6 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon instant or active dry yeast
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 2/3 cups cool water
Combine the flour yeast and salt in a large bowl, I have found that glass works better than plastic for some reason, your results may vary. Add the water until the dough is sticky, cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 12-18 hours.
Lightly flour your hands and the surface you are going to be working on so the dough doesn’t stick. Fold the dough over on itself a couple times creating a ball with the smooth side up. Flour a tea towel, or similar, and put the dough ball on it, covering it with the other half of the towel. If you use too little dough here things will get sticky later. Let it rise another two hours.
When the dough is 30 minutes from being ready to bake, put the dutch oven you plan to use in your conventional oven and pre-heat it to 425 degrees.
When the dough is ready (after rising for 2 hours) take the dutch oven out and carefully remove the lid. Take the towel and kind of flip the dough ball into the dutch oven so the seam side is up. Place the lid back on the dutch oven and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 10-15 minutes. I have left the lid on for the whole 50 minutes and everything was still as good.
Remove the bread from the pot and let cool completely on a rack. You will hear the break cracking as it cools.
Enjoy. It makes a nice loaf of artisan type bread. I have used both all purpose and bread flour with good success, but I probably prefer the bread flour better.
The dutch oven that I have been using was one I got on clearance from Meijer for $10. It is obviously enameled cast iron. I plan on using my plain cast iron dutch oven and even my cast iron loaf pan soon.
I finally got a chance to use my loaf pan, so I split the dough into that and my smaller cast iron dutch oven. They both worked well. I think I will try to cover the loaf pan with aluminum foil next time to see if I can get the crust a little softer.
Rachel Ray’s Swiss and Bacon Dip
My wife started making this a couple years back and it has become a family favorite.
- 8 slices bacon, chopped
- 8 ounces softened cream cheese
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 rounded teaspoons Dijon style mustard
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
- 3 scallions, chopped
- 1/2 cup almonds, coarsely chopped (Can be made without and it is still good)
- Dipping implements: baby carrots and pretzels are my favorite, but flat breads or cocktail breads work great too
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Brown bacon in nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Drain crisp bacon bits on paper towels.
In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, Dijon, Swiss and scallions with cooked bacon. Transfer to a shallow small casserole or baking dish and bake until golden and bubbly at edges, 15 to 18 minutes. Top with chopped smoked almonds. Place dip on a platter and surround warm casserole with breads and carrots for dipping.
Variation: Swiss and Bacon Dip with Horseradish – Stir in 2 rounded teaspoons prepared horseradish when combining cheese and bacon.
Honey Whole Wheat Bread
It is a recipe referred to me by a friend, but she/we altered it a little bit. Instead of two cups whole wheat flour and 4 cups bread flour we evened them out at three a piece. You can find the link here. Here’s the ingredient list.
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 3 cups bread flour
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 t salt
- 2 packets yeast (.25 ounce packets)(between 4.5-5 tsp yeast)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 2/3 cup water
- 2/3 cup milk
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
I didn’t have unsalted butter so I just eliminated the 1 1/2 t of salt.
A quick rundown of the instructions
- Mix dry ingredients
- Mix wet ingredients and heat in microwave to 105 degrees, hot enough to melt the butter, stir the wet ingredients to combine
- Add wet to dry in mixer with dough hook, mix for five minutes adding more flour as needed (my dough hook didn’t really mix the dough so I ended up kneading by hand a little, not very difficult)
- Place in large greased bowl and let rise (covered) in a warm spot for thirty minutes
- Remove dough, halve and roll into rectangles approximately 9×11 inches. Roll the dough into a cinnamon roll type shape and pinch corners, placing in an oiled loaf pan.
- Let rise 30 more minutes or until the dough has risen approximately one inch above the top of the loaf pan.
- Bake 25 minutes at 400 degrees
- Remove from loaf pan and allow to cool completely before slicing.
If you want to make a cinnamon filling try this… smear the surface with two tablespoons softened/melty butter. Then mix in a bowl 1/3 cup brown sugar and 2 Tbs cinnamon. Sprinkle that evenly over the buttered surface. Roll up as usual, and pinch it really well to seal it. Bake as normal.
Updated note: If you are going to add the brown sugar/cinnamon filling make sure you pinch the ends and the seam of the roll tightly. I was warned of this by my friend, but apparently I didn’t do it diligently enough because some of the gooey goodness leaked out. Also, you really need to let it cool down, the filling will take longer to cool and if you don’t wait, it will leak out when you cut it. Live and learn.
Another Update: My son wanted me to make cinnamon raisin bread. The last time I made two loafs I folded in a handful of raisins into the dough before adding the cinnamon filling. It turned out really well. I will definitely be doing that again.
Sausage Cheese Dip – Quick and Easy!!!
This is a recipe that my wife’s grandmother, mom, and now my wife make on a regular basis. It is probably the easiest recipe to make and easy enough to keep the ingredients on hand so you could make it at a moment’s notice. This is more of a ratio recipe so here it is…
2 parts Velveeta or equivalent
1 part breakfast sausage, browned and broken into small pieces
After browning the sausage put it in a bowl with Velveeta cubes and warm in the microwave, stirring when melted. If you use this method you will need to re-microwave the dip periodically before it solidifies too much.
You can also warm the dip using a small crock pot or dip warmer and then you won’t have to continually reheat the dip.
Velveeta has a long shelf life, and breakfast sausage can be frozen for long periods of time so it is easy to keep the necessary ingredients on hand if you need to make a dip on short notice. You can also add all sorts of goodies to spice it up, be it spicier sausage, beans, tomatoes, etc. Have fun with it. We have served it with corn chips, tortilla chips, carrots, or pretzels.
Here is a similar recipe on Kraft’s website.
Home Made Brown Sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp Unsulphured Molasses
Crock Pot Venison Stew
- 4 – 10 ounce cans of condensed cream of mushroom soup
- 2 lbs venison tenderloin (or other cut of venison)
- 4 cups of mushrooms
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 9.5 ounces uncooked pearled barley
Cook on low all day, or high for three hours depending on your crock pot.
Make the barley according to the package. You could also make rice instead of barley, which is what I prefer to do.