Ah-h-h-h ... the sweet aroma of breads

Cooking with Cathie

editorial@sierrastar.comMay 13, 2014 

Sweet aroma of bread

I had every intention of doing some bread baking for the Easter holiday, but ended up traveling and did not have the time. Then I got to thinking 'uh-oh, sometimes that means trouble.' But just because Easter has come and gone, it doesn't mean I am banned from baking some special treats. While it is nice if things work out so you can enjoy certain treats on certain holidays, why not enjoy them whenever you can? I can make these breads in celebration of spring and even for the simple reason of just loving to eat them. If you would like to join in my culinary revolt of "holiday foods are not just for holidays," perhaps you will like one or more of the recipes I am sharing today. Happy spring, and I hope your allergies are not bothering you too much.


Italian bread

I like to add some vanilla and/or anise extract to this. I also prefer to dissolve the yeast in the milk (at temperatures recommended on the yeast package), rather than mixing the dry yeast into the flour.

  • 3 cups flour, to be divided
  • 1 packet (0.25-oz.) active dried yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup warm milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped candied or dried fruit
  • 1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon anise seed
  • 6 raw eggs, either dyed or plain
  • Small amount olive oil

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Add warm milk and butter. Beat mixture manually for 5 minutes or 2 minutes with a mixer at medium speed.
  2. Add 2 eggs and another 1/2 cup flour. Beat well by hand or with an electric hand mixer on high speed for 2 minutes. Stir in the fruit, nuts and anise seed; mix well.
  3. Add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn this dough onto a floured work surface and knead it until it becomes smooth. This will take anywhere between five and ten minutes.
  4. Clean and lightly grease the mixing bowl and return the dough to it, turning it once to make sure the top is greased. Cover with a cloth and let rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size.
  5. Remove dough from bowl and place on a floured surface. Knead for a minute or two to remove trapped air bubbles. Cut dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece until it reaches a length of about 16 inches. Loosely braid the three ropes together.
  6. Form braid into a ring by pinching both ends together and sealing. Place on greased baking sheet. Place the 6 colored (or plain) eggs at even intervals into the braids. Cover the loaf and let rise again until doubled. While bread is rising, preheat oven to 350 degrees. If a shiny surface is desired, brush surface of bread dough with an egg wash (1 egg beaten with small amount of water).
  7. Bake loaf in preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until it is golden brown and tests done. Remove from oven and baking sheet to a wire rack for cooling.


Bread with orange butter

  • 1 package (0.25-oz.) active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm water (according to yeast package directions)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 4 to 5 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 teaspoons butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons orange marmalade

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the eggs, sugar, oil, salt, lemon peel and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
  2. Turn onto a floured surface. Sprinkle with raisins; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  3. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide dough into thirds. Shape each into a 20-inch rope. Place ropes on a greased baking sheet and braid; pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 24 to 28 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool. In a small bowl, combine softened butter and marmalade; serve with bread.


Lemon rolls

  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup lemon curd
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Icing:

  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel

  1. In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, lemon peel and salt. In a small saucepan, heat the sour cream, butter and water to 120 to130 degrees; add to dry ingredients. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add eggs and 1/2 cup flour; beat 2 minutes longer. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).
  2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  3. Punch dough down; turn out onto a floured surface. Roll dough into a rectangle, about 18-by-12-inches. Spread lemon curd evenly to within 1/2 inch of edges. Beginning with the long side, roll up jelly roll fashion and pinch seams to seal. Cut into 12 slices.
  4. Place rolls, cut side down, in a greased 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with walnuts, if desired. Preheat oven to 350.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. In a small bowl, combine icing ingredients until smooth. Drizzle over warm rolls. Makes 12 rolls.


Lithuanian fruit bread

  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups warm milk (according to yeast packages)
  • 8 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 pound mixed candied fruits or dried fruits, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups dark or light raisins
  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup dark rum, optional

Filling:

  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

  1. In a large bowl, mix yeast, 1/2 cup sugar, milk, 3 cups of the flour, and salt until smooth. Cover and let stand for 1 hour.
  2. Add 1 stick melted butter, eggs, remaining 1/2 cup sugar and remaining flour. Knead until smooth and elastic. Add chopped fruits, raisins, nuts and rum, if using, and knead until well incorporated. Cover and let rise until doubled.
  3. Divide dough in half and, on a lightly floured surface, roll each into a rectangle about 12-by-16 inches. Spread each with melted butter and sugar mixed with cinnamon. Roll up lengthwise, tuck in ends and place in 2 large greased loaf pans. Preheat oven to 400. Cover pans with greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake 50 minutes longer. Turn out onto wire rack to cool completely. Dust with confectioners' sugar or drizzle with a simple confectioners' sugar icing, if desired.

Sweet aroma of bread

I had every intention of doing some bread baking for the Easter holiday, but ended up traveling and did not have the time. Then I got to thinking 'uh-oh, sometimes that means trouble.' But just because Easter has come and gone, it doesn't mean I am banned from baking some special treats. While it is nice if things work out so you can enjoy certain treats on certain holidays, why not enjoy them whenever you can? I can make these breads in celebration of spring and even for the simple reason of just loving to eat them. If you would like to join in my culinary revolt of "holiday foods are not just for holidays," perhaps you will like one or more of the recipes I am sharing today. Happy spring, and I hope your allergies are not bothering you too much.


Italian bread

I like to add some vanilla and/or anise extract to this. I also prefer to dissolve the yeast in the milk (at temperatures recommended on the yeast package), rather than mixing the dry yeast into the flour.

  • 3 cups flour, to be divided
  • 1 packet (0.25-oz.) active dried yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup warm milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped candied or dried fruit
  • 1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon anise seed
  • 6 raw eggs, either dyed or plain
  • Small amount olive oil

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Add warm milk and butter. Beat mixture manually for 5 minutes or 2 minutes with a mixer at medium speed.
  2. Add 2 eggs and another 1/2 cup flour. Beat well by hand or with an electric hand mixer on high speed for 2 minutes. Stir in the fruit, nuts and anise seed; mix well.
  3. Add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn this dough onto a floured work surface and knead it until it becomes smooth. This will take anywhere between five and ten minutes.
  4. Clean and lightly grease the mixing bowl and return the dough to it, turning it once to make sure the top is greased. Cover with a cloth and let rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size.
  5. Remove dough from bowl and place on a floured surface. Knead for a minute or two to remove trapped air bubbles. Cut dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece until it reaches a length of about 16 inches. Loosely braid the three ropes together.
  6. Form braid into a ring by pinching both ends together and sealing. Place on greased baking sheet. Place the 6 colored (or plain) eggs at even intervals into the braids. Cover the loaf and let rise again until doubled. While bread is rising, preheat oven to 350 degrees. If a shiny surface is desired, brush surface of bread dough with an egg wash (1 egg beaten with small amount of water).
  7. Bake loaf in preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until it is golden brown and tests done. Remove from oven and baking sheet to a wire rack for cooling.


Bread with orange butter

  • 1 package (0.25-oz.) active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm water (according to yeast package directions)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 4 to 5 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 teaspoons butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons orange marmalade

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the eggs, sugar, oil, salt, lemon peel and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
  2. Turn onto a floured surface. Sprinkle with raisins; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  3. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide dough into thirds. Shape each into a 20-inch rope. Place ropes on a greased baking sheet and braid; pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 24 to 28 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool. In a small bowl, combine softened butter and marmalade; serve with bread.


Lemon rolls

  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup lemon curd
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Icing:

  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel

  1. In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, lemon peel and salt. In a small saucepan, heat the sour cream, butter and water to 120 to130 degrees; add to dry ingredients. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add eggs and 1/2 cup flour; beat 2 minutes longer. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).
  2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  3. Punch dough down; turn out onto a floured surface. Roll dough into a rectangle, about 18-by-12-inches. Spread lemon curd evenly to within 1/2 inch of edges. Beginning with the long side, roll up jelly roll fashion and pinch seams to seal. Cut into 12 slices.
  4. Place rolls, cut side down, in a greased 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with walnuts, if desired. Preheat oven to 350.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. In a small bowl, combine icing ingredients until smooth. Drizzle over warm rolls. Makes 12 rolls.


Lithuanian fruit bread

  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups warm milk (according to yeast packages)
  • 8 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 pound mixed candied fruits or dried fruits, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups dark or light raisins
  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup dark rum, optional

Filling:

  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

  1. In a large bowl, mix yeast, 1/2 cup sugar, milk, 3 cups of the flour, and salt until smooth. Cover and let stand for 1 hour.
  2. Add 1 stick melted butter, eggs, remaining 1/2 cup sugar and remaining flour. Knead until smooth and elastic. Add chopped fruits, raisins, nuts and rum, if using, and knead until well incorporated. Cover and let rise until doubled.
  3. Divide dough in half and, on a lightly floured surface, roll each into a rectangle about 12-by-16 inches. Spread each with melted butter and sugar mixed with cinnamon. Roll up lengthwise, tuck in ends and place in 2 large greased loaf pans. Preheat oven to 400. Cover pans with greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake 50 minutes longer. Turn out onto wire rack to cool completely. Dust with confectioners' sugar or drizzle with a simple confectioners' sugar icing, if desired.

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