Tag Archives: Bread

Banana Wheat Bran Scones and a New Favorite Eatery!

Good morning and happy Monday! I’m awake earlier than usual for some reason, so I decided to go ahead and tell you about my Sunday. My blogging seems to be running a bit behind my life this weekend, and maybe this will get me back on track! 

I had such an enjoyable Sunday! The temperature has gotten up around 90 here for the past few days, which came sort of out of nowhere. It’s as if the summertime switch has been flipped. I wasn’t hungry for a hot breakfast yesterday at all, so I just had a little bowl of strawberry frosted mini-wheats cereal. I also had a little bit of peanut butter on bread. I definitely feel less hungry when the weather warms up, but I was also trying to eat light since I had a birthday brunch to attend. 

I met up with my friends yesterday at a great neighborhood brunch spot, but there was an hour and a half wait for a table. Too hungry to wait that long, we went in search of an alternative. We decided to go to the Le Pain Quotidien that had just recently opened. I’m SO glad we did! I started off with a hibiscus tea sweetened with organic agave. Isn’t it pretty?

Hibiscus TeaI sat down, opened up my menu and nearly fell out of my chair. The menu was full of amazing choices and… it included the calorie counts for most of the foods!! Holy moly!! This was a dream come true right on my doorstep. The kinds of food available at LPQ are right up my alley. The boulangerie and patisserie selections alone could keep me entertained for a long time. For my lunch, I decided on the tartine with ricotta, mission figs, diced tomatoes, black pepper and organic acacia honey:

TartinesIt was so fresh and amazing! The ricotta was smooth and creamy and went so well with the figs and honey. In case you can’t tell, a tartine is kind of like an open faced sandwich, and mine was made on some amazing whole wheat bread. BLISS! I also got a massive bowl of fruit to go along with it:

FruitifullThis was the perfect amount of food for me, and it was all so very fresh and bright. Speaking of fresh and bright, check out my friend’s gazpacho!

GazpachoWhat a lovely lunch!! On the way out, I couldn’t resist picking up a jar of their praline spread and getting one of my favorites for the road:

Chocolate Croissant to GoI had my first chocolate croissant while I was studying abroad, and I’ve been a sucker for them ever since. This one did not disappoint! Happy Birthday to my friend… and happy new eatery to me. 🙂 

It was pretty late in the afternoon when I got back home after stopping to run a few errands on the way, and I spent some time putting my new plants into pots. I’ll take some photos of my little balcony garden soon so that you can see what I’ve been up to. It’s always nice to look out and see some living and growing things after a winter of staring at empty pots. 

When dinnertime rolled around, I decided to have some more of yesterday’s Buitoni creation along with my own little version of the salad I’d had at Art and Soul. 

Din DinYes, it really was that color! I topped some of the pretty lettuce I got at the farmer’s market with some goat cheese and almonds. That’s always a good start! Then, I got out my new magic bullet. Oh yeah. Magic bullet action! I put in a teaspoon of dijon mustard, a Tablespoon of fig infused balsamic vinegar and three blackberries with the tiniest whisper of salt and gave it a whir. Three little blackberries made for all of that color and gave the dressing an awesome texture and flavor. If only I’d had some watermelon pickles! I think this might be a good alternative to my usual mustard and vinegar dressing mixes.

After dinner, I had a few little snacks that I didn’t photograph including a So Delicious mini-neapolitan ice cream bar. It was a 90 calorie treat that really packed a lot of goodness into a small package. YUM! After my icy treat, I headed off to the Sunday session with my trainer (plus cardio… 572 calories crushed). Yay!!

When I got back to the apartment,  I decided to use up some more of the bananas out of the freezer and make a batch of scones with what I had on hand. In case you can’t tell, I’m a big fan of using up what’s on hand, and that’s why I put so many little options in the recipe. I’ve learned that substitutions are fine in many cases, and there’s no reason to run to the store unless it’s really necessary!  By the way, my recipe is an adaptation of this one from Cooking Light with some of my usual tweaks.

Banana Wheat Bran SconesBanana Wheat Bran Scones

Ingredients:

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup teff flour (or whole wheat flour)

1/2 cup wheat bran (or oat bran)

2 Tbsp. butter, chilled and cut into little pieces

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 cup mashed ripe (or thawed overripe!!) banana

1 Tbsp. brown sugar

1/4 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt (or regular nonfat yogurt)

1 1/2 tsp. almond milk (or skim milk)

1 1/2 tsp. turbinado sugar (or regular granulated sugar)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Combine the bananas and the brown sugar in a medium sized bowl and allow to stand for five minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the first eight ingredients, AP flour through cinnamon, in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add the flour mixture and the yogurt to the banana mixture, alternatively adding some of the flour and then some of the yogurt until the ingredients are completely incorporated, and stir until moistened. 

Using a rubber spatula “knead” the dough right in the bowl by pressing it down to really work in the butter pieces and then scraping the sides of the bowl. Continue to repeat that action for about 1 1/2 minutes. Alternatively, you could also turn it out onto a floured surface and knead it for a minute or so, but the bowl method is less messy and works just fine.

Transfer the dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Press into a 6″ circle using the back of the rubber spatula. Use a sharp knife to cut into but not through the circle of dough, dividing it into eight wedges. Brush with the almond milk and sprinkle the sugar on top.

Bake at 400 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. It should be browned and should spring back somewhat when pressed on the top. Cool on a wire rack, cut the wedges all the way through and enjoy!

This makes 8 scones at less than 130 calories each according to the recipe calculator I used. Not bad!

[Late breaking edit: Please see this post for a review of the scones. They didn’t turn out to be my favorite thing and, in the interest of full disclosure, I want to give you my thoughts in case you are considering whipping up a batch! If you are trying to find something to do with overripe bananas, you might check out this post for a chocolate banana snack cake recipe that I adore!!]

Photos from the process:

The Dry Team

Coarse Crumbs

Kneading in the Bowl

Before Baking

Oven FreshThese were super quick and easy, and I think you could certainly add all sorts of things to this recipe to suit your taste. I’m thinking that some chocolate chips would be a good addition next time. 🙂 Chocolate!

Now, I’ve got to get ready and get to work. I hope you all have a good Monday, and don’t forget to enter my 100th post giveaway!! By the way, a special welcome to you if you are checking out my blog for the first time! Make yourself at home!! 🙂 

Ciao for now, bloggies!

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Filed under Baking, Bananas, Bread, Chocolate, cooking, D.C., diet, Fitness, Food, Greek Yogurt, Recipes, Vegetarian Recipes, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story, Weight Watchers

Zucchini and Cookies

Zucchini

Happy Thursday! The weekend’s almost here. I just hope the weather improves. It’s been gloomy and cloudy with drizzle all day today. It’s not warm either. The cherry blossom festival is about to get under way, and I just hope the little blossoms manage to stay warm.

Oat Bran!I had another day of tasty “pointless” eats, and I made a zucchini dish for dinner tonight that I’m going to tell you about. It was good, and a great way to use up the zucchini that came in my last Merry Produce Wednesday box. This morning, I started off with a bowl of oat bran. I’d just been missing it too much to have regular oats for another day! I added 1/3 a pack of Jay Robb’s strawberry whey protein powder, 1/2 Tbsp. of maple syrup, half of a banana that I smushed up, and some cinnamon and nutmeg. I tossed some strawberries on top with 1/2 Tbsp. of Dark Chocolate Dreams. It was gooood! 

Blue Ridge Dairy GoodnessBefore kickboxing, I had a bowl of Greek yogurt. I’ve been waiting to finish up some Fage before trying out the nonfat Greek yogurt I bought on Saturday at the farmer’s market. The Blue Ridge Dairy folks have kept me well fed this week with the smoked mozzarella. This yogurt? Oh my gosh. It was so good. In fact, I think it was the best Greek yogurt I’ve had! The add-ins were pretty awesome too. I added 1/2 Tbsp. of orange and fig spread along with some chopped vanilla almonds. It was the best thing I ate all day!

Cabbage Nest Primavera... againAfter kickboxing, I was starving! I woke up hungry this morning and that continued into the afternoon. I had my last Cabbage “Nest” Primavera along with a few Brussels sprouts. I’m made sure to get a good singe on my cabbage since the burnt bits were so tasty when it happened accidentally yesterday.

Lunch DessertAfter that, I enjoyed a slice of my cottage cheese bread with some Mighty Maple PB and half of a Cookiehead Belgian Chocolate Chunk cookie. Yes, this is another thing I hadn’t tried because it wasn’t very points friendly. You can tell that it is made with whole wheat because it has a nice soft texture and a nutty flavor. I really liked it, and I will definitely be trying the other flavors available at my store!

dscn2257Eventually, I decided it was time for a snack so I had a little strawberry Yokids with some Zoe’s granola mixed in. YUM!

Cashew and Pear CrazinessWhen snack time rolled around again, I decided to have a variation on the apple and PB theme. I had a pear and some cashew butter sprinkled with a ton of cinnamon. WOW! I’m living on the edge. 🙂 It was a really nice combo. Red pears are so pretty!

Din Din

By dinnertime, I was seriously hungry again! My body has adjusted to the new eating framework, and there are some noticeable changes. I seem to be hungrier, but yet more satisfied. I will talk more about that in tomorrow’s post. Just know that when dinner time rolled around, I was ready! I had a Gardenburger Chik’n Grill patty on some Nature’s Own Double Fiber bread with a little light mayo and some pickles. On the side, I had some grape tomatoes and some Spiced Zucchini with Bulgur. 

Spiced Zucchini with BulgurMy recipe for the zucchini dish was loosely based on this one from an old Gourmet magazine. I ran across the page I had torn out the other day while I was cleaning out a folder of random magazine pages. I have a habit of tearing out pages that interest me and then losing them due to the lack of any sort of organizational system whatsoever. I was glad to find this one. My version is actually quite a bit different, but I wanted to mention the original because it would be good too. Here’s mine:

Spiced Zucchini with Bulgur

Ingredients:

3 cups of boiling water

3/4 cup of bulgur

1 tsp. salt, divided

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 cup onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed or sliced

1 1/2 pounds of zucchini, cubed

3/4 tsp. ground coriander

1/4 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. chili powder

 1/4 tsp. black pepper

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary

Juice of half of a lemon

Directions:
Place bulgur and 1/2 tsp. salt in a medium sized microwave safe bowl. Pour the boiling water over the bulgur, cover and let it sit for three minutes. Then, place in the microwave, uncovered, for 6 minutes. Remove from the microwave and give it a stir. Return to the microwave for two minutes at a time, stirring it at each two minute interval. It took about ten minutes for mine to absorb most of the water, but the time could vary. Just continue microwaving until the water is absorbed and the bulgur is tender.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the onion and 1/4 tsp. of salt, sauteeing for one minute. Add the garlic and saute for one minute. Add the zucchini and the remaining 1/4 tsp. of salt. Saute the zucchini, stirring gently, for about 6 minutes or until the zucchini is tender.

Add the remaining ingredients except for the lemon juice. Continue to cook the mixture for two more minutes. Remove from heat. Stir the zucchini mixture into the bulgur, being gentle so as to avoid mashing the zucchini. Add the lemon juice and give it another gentle stir. 

This makes 8 side servings, but two servings could make a nice lunch.

It was creamy and kind of reminded me of risotto! I used rosemary because I have some growing in a pot, and it is need of some serious trimming. You’ll be seeing a lot of rosemary until I get my plant under control. I used a whole tablespoon of olive oil because I’m trying to make sure and get enough healthy fat into my diet each day. You could certainly use less or just use cooking spray. I will say that this dish had a much richer texture than I expected, and I have to attribute it to the olive oil. It felt decadent! Yum! Fat!!

DessertAfter dinner, I had the other half of my cookie and a cup of fat free Nestle’s cocoa. After that, I decided to try the chocolate orange Jocalat Bar from Larabar. I didn’t take a picture. I also didn’t eat much of the bar. I’m now faced with a dilemma. I did not like the way this bar tasted AT ALL! I love chocolate and orange together, and I expected to love this. Instead, I thought it had a weird and unpleasant taste. I’m not sure what the deal is, but, as I try not to waste calories on things I don’t like, I now have most of a bar to dispose of. I don’t think that giving a half eaten ancient larabar to trick or treaters in October is appropriate, but that’s the only idea I’ve come up with so far. What do you think I should do with it? I’m also curious if anyone else has tried this bar. Maybe mine is defective? Well, at any rate, I’m going to be looking for another little treat this evening, and I’ll be putting this little number in a ziploc baggie where it will await its fate.

Today was day seven of my “pointless” eating week. Tomorrow I’ll let you know how it went and what I’m planning as I move forward. It has been a good week, and I’ve done more food journal posts than usual to sort of let you see what was on the menu. It’s a lot of work! I don’t think I’d like doing it everyday, but it is fun to look back and see what I’ve eaten.

I have some major cleaning to do this evening, and I need to get to it. If you are reading this, please leave a comment and let me know what on earth I should do with this bar?!? I’m hoping you have an idea that is better than mine!

Have a great Friday and an amazing weekend!

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Filed under Cookies, diet, Farmer's Market, Fitness, Food, Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetarian Recipes, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story, Weight Watchers

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Nothing says “Happy St. Patrick’s Day!” quite like singing muppets! Since this is a blog that is mostly about food, I’d like to point out that the Swedish chef is part of the trio. I love him!! I remembered to wear something green to work this year, so I didn’t get pinched. I even put on some green workout clothes when I headed off to the gym this evening for some strength training and cardio. Better safe than sorry!

The other way I celebrated today was, yep, you guessed it: green foods! I started the morning off with a bowl of oat bran, but this was no typical bowl. I had 1/4 of an avocado in the fridge, and I decided that it was time to try Heather’s raw chocolate “frosting.”Sarah made some a couple of day’s ago, and I decided it was time to give it a try myself. I added 1 tsp of maple sugar, 1 tsp of cocoa powder and splash of water to the avocado and blended it up in the food processor. I think if it had been a bigger batch, it would have blended up better, but it worked out just fine!

Chocolate PuddingIt was interesting, and… good! I love avocado. I love chocolate. I love maple sugar. What’s not to love!? I put my little bit of yummy frosting on top of my oat bran along with some bright red berries.

Morning Oat BranIt was fun to start the day off with something new, and I had a bit o’ green in my morning oats! Yay!!! I had a bit o’ green with dinner too. I’ve been craving egg salad ever since I saw Junglefrog’s batch. Aren’t ideas contagious?! 

Egg SaladI made two servings so I can have more tomorrow. I’m glad, because it was good! I used 2 whole eggs, one egg white, 1 Tbsp. of sweet pickle relish, 1 Tbsp. of light mayo, 1 Tbsp. Greek yogurt, 1 tsp. of dijon, 2 tsp. of chopped walnuts and 1 Tbsp. of fresh dill. There are at least 2 green things in the green bowl. Do I get extra points? 🙂 Each serving is 3 unofficial ww points, and lots of official points of yummy. I had a bit more green on my plate this evening since I ate the last of my roasted broccoli along with my sandwich:

Yummy Greens!

The cottage cheese bread sliced up easily, and toasts up quite nicely. I froze about 12 slices, and we will see how it does after some time in the arctic. I’ve been using the freezer more these days, and I think the key is to remember what’s in there. I found some long forgotten muffins a couple of weeks ago, and I didn’t want to waste them. Freezer burn adds an interesting flavor. I hope to avoid that particular enhancement with the bread. I had a piece with my bulgur chili today topped with a little peanut butter and a chopped up date. It made for a tasty little dessert!

My shoulders are really tight from my strength training workouts on Sunday night and tonight. I’m trying to get better about not shrugging when I lift, but it’s tough! I feel like I need to put on an iPod with a voice that repeats, “roll your shoulders back” ad infinitem. I try to remember to do it during the day when I’m sitting at my desk too. Years of having more weight in various places has thrown my posture a bit out of whack. It’s good to have mini projects in the scheme of bigger workouts, and that is definitely one of mine.

Now, I’m going to roll my shoulders back, eat a few chocolate chips and make a cup of tea. I’m getting wild and crazy here on St. Patty’s Day!! I’ll make sure to sleep in something green. 🙂 I hope you had a great day! Tomorrow is humpday. Hooray!!!

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Filed under Bread, diet, Fitness, Food, Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetarian Recipes, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story, Weight Watchers

Loafing Around

Plays Well with Peanut Butter!Going back to work after a lazy weekend is always tough. It makes it a bit better when you have yummy eats to look forward to all day. Another thing that can vastly improve a Monday is finding out that you are the winner of the past week’s BSI contest! I was so excited and honored when I found out that my Very Strawberry Almond Butter Bars were declared the winning recipe this week. I know that the competition was tough. Thanks so much for hosting, Laura, and thanks for choosing my little bars!! Thanks to all of you for the positive comments on the post as well. I’m really enjoying the bars, and, if you decide to make up a batch, I hope you will enjoy them too! Don’t forget to check out Christina’s site, Dinner at Christina’s, to find out about the BSI for this week’s contest. I already peeked, and she chose a good one!

I had a yummy bar this morning, bulgur chili in my lunch, and I had last night’s loaf of bread waiting at home as an incentive to make it through the day. I love cooking all weekend long. It makes for a week of good eats!! I saved room to have a couple of slices of the bread after dinner with, well, what else?? Peanut butter! Last night I had the deconstructed PB&J you see above. Tonight, I had one slice with regular peanut butter and another with PB&Co Dark Chocolate Dreams. I just love having fresh bread, and this is an interesting loaf. As I mentioned, I’m trying to bump up the protein in my diet. I decided to make a simplification of a recipe from the same book I used for my “Big Batch” Bran Bread: Martha Rose Shulman’s Great Breads. This recipe is great because it has a ton of cottage cheese in it, and that gives it a little protein boost! The end result is a loaf with a nice crisp crust and a very moist interior.

PBs!!

The original recipe was for an herbed version of this bread. I’m sure it would be good, but I didn’t really want to be wedded to dill for an entire loaf, so I decided to leave out a few things and just make the basic bread. Here’s the recipe:
Yum!
     

Cottage Cheese Bread

adapted from Great Breads by Martha Rose Shulman

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. active dry yeast

1/4 cup lukewarm water

1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar

1 3/4 cups 1% lowfat cottage cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup egg beaters, at room temperature

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 2/3 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup all purpose flour (plus extra if you are kneading by hand)

1/4 cup teff flour (you could use another flour or just use more all purpose flour if you don’t have teff)

nonstick cooking spray

 Directions:

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a large bowl (the mixing bowl if you are using a mixer), and stir in the agave nectar or honey. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, until creamy.

Press the cottage cheese through a sieve or give it a zip in the food processor. Stir it into the yeast mixture. Beat in the egg beaters, olive oil and baking soda. 

Combine the flours and salt in a medium sized bowl. Add all at once to the yeast mixture. Use a spoon to stir the flour into the liquids until the dry ingredients are moistened. Place the mixing bowl on the mixer stand, and, using the dough hook, mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Then increase to medium speed and mix for 8-10 minutes. The dough will be sticky. After kneading it in the mixer, it should be fairly smooth and elastic and should spring back when indented with the fingers.

If you choose to knead the dough by hand rather than with the mixer, you should incorporate the flour and then knead on a floured work surface for 10 minutes adding extra all purpose flour as needed, up to 1/2 a cup. If you are a points counter, you may want to keep track of the additional flour and refigure the points using the recipe builder.

Scrape the dough out of the mixing bowl and onto a lightly floured surface or a nonstick mat coated in nonstick cooking spray. Knead for a minute or so by hand. I sprayed my hands with cooking spray as needed to keep the dough from sticking. Form the dough into a loaf by flattening it into a rectangular shape and then folding it like a business letter, pinching the seems to seal. Tuck the ends toward the center and pinch to seal those seams as well. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just make a loaf. 

Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray. Place the loaf in the pan with the seam side down. I placed the loaf pan over my bread and then flipped the baking mat over rather than trying to lift the loaf off of the mat. Spray the top of the loaf with cooking spray.

Cover with a towel and allow it to rise for 2 hours, or until the top of the loaf curves above the side of the pan. 

About 30 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 375 degrees, with the rack in the middle.

Bake the loaf for 35 to 40 minutes, until it sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from the pan and cool on a rack.

This makes 12 unofficial 2 point slices or 24 unofficial 1 point slices (when made using teff flour and no additional all purpose flour)

I decided that I’d rather use a sieve for the cottage cheese than dirty up my food processor. It didn’t take me too long to press every last bit of this through the mesh.

Cottage Cheese in a SieveI can never resist taking a photo of the dry ingredients. I think they are so pretty. The darkest part is the teff flour. I bought a bag the other day, and I’m having fun mixing it in to all sorts of things. As I said above, you could just use 3/4 of a cup of all purpose flour instead of the AP flour and teff flour combo if you don’t have teff flour on hand. 
The Dry Team
I love using my dough hook, but kneading by hand obviously works well too. I’ve certainly made my share of bread without the luxury of a dough hook. A benefit of the mixer is that you don’t need to add as much extra flour in order to work with the dough. Extra flour adds calories, but also makes for a heavier bread in some cases. As you can see, this is a pretty sticky dough, and I’d rather let the mixer do the work than get my hands stuck in the middle of it.
You don't "knead" the mixer, but it makes it easier!
This bread is a bit easier than some because it only has to rise one time. I can never resist buying old pyrex with funky designs like the one on this loaf pan when I spot one at Goodwill. I just think they are fun! Here’s how it looks before it rises:
Before the Rising
 Here’s how it looks after it rises and right before it goes into the oven:
After the RisingOops! That one was a little blurry, but you get the point. Finally… here is the finished loaf!
Loafing Around
My workout was great last night, and it was nice to come home to a loaf of fresh bread and the aroma of baking. I think that there’s nothing like it! I see a lot of peanut butter toast in my near future, and I’m planning on making a special sandwich filler for tomorrow. That will have to wait for now… 
What would be on your ideal slice of toast??? Sweetie Pie wants to know!

Now that I’ve posted two bread recipes, I can honestly say that I think the bread recipes are the hardest to write. If you have any questions or find anything to be absolutely confusing, please let me know. 

Before I go, I want to tell you to check out Missy’s awesome granola giveaway at Missy Maintains in celebration of her new domain name. Check it out! 
Also, there is a fun British bar giveaway over at Thinspired. Happy Blogaversary!

I’m shooting for an early bedtime this evening, and I need to fix some of this bread up for the freezer before I crash so I guess I’d better get to it. Have a great evening, and don’t forget to check out this week’s BSI over at Dinner at Christina’s. Ciao!!

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Filed under Baking, Bread, BSI, diet, Fitness, Food, Recipes, Vegetarian Recipes, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story, Weight Watchers

“Big Batch” Bran Bread and BSI: Black Beans Winner

Sampling the Bran Bread

I was struggling with an idea for my big batch this week. When I thought about what I would really like to eat, I came up with a rather unusual answer for me: Bread. I wanted a nice, hearty, substantial bread that I could have in my lunches this week with hummus, with peanut butter, with a bit of cheese and veggies… I decided to break out of my usual big batch trend, which is to make something that is veggieriffic, and give in to the desire for freshly baked bread.

This led me to my cookbook shelf, and a long neglected book by Martha Rose Shulman. In the book, I found a recipe for Bran Bread that sounded like what I was looking for, and it fared pretty well when I calculated the points. Indeed, it is tasty, and I’m quite happy with it. 

I briefly owned a bread machine about ten years ago, but it seemed to have a death wish. One day I left it humming away on the counter, and it lost its balance. During a vigorous kneading cycle, it rocked its way to the edge of the cabinet and took a leap over the edge. It wasn’t a pretty sight. That’s when I resumed my job as the bread machine. That’s ok. I like breadmaking! If you’ve never made bread, I don’t think it is as hard as people sometimes make it out to be. If you have fresh yeast, and treat it nicely, you should end up with something good. It does take awhile and a bit of patience, but I usually find plenty of things to keep me busy while the dough is rising. Last night, I spent part of that time in the gym! 

There are lots of great recipes in this cookbook. I’m so glad that I pulled it off the shelf and spent some time flipping through it. It has been a long time! Here is my recipe based on the one in the book:

Bran Bread

Bran Bread from Great Breads by Martha Rose Shulman

Ingredients:

1 packet (about 2 teaspoons) of active dry yeast

2 cups lukewarm water

1 teaspoon honey

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 cup wheat bran

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

2 tsp. salt

1 1/2- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I used 1 1/2 cups in both my loaf and my points calculation)

Directions:

1. Combine the yeast and water in large mixing bowl. Stir to dissolve the yeast, then add the honey and let it sit for 10 minutes to allow it to become creamy.

2. Using an electric mixer: Combine bran, whole wheat flour, salt and 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour in a bowl and mix well.

After the yeast mixture has been sitting for 10 minutes, add the dry ingredients and the oil all at once. Mix together using the paddle attachment just until combined. Switch to the dough hook and mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and continue to process using the dough hook for 8-10 minutes. If the dough seems wet and sticky, you may sprinkle in up to a cup of all purpose flour. (If you are counting points, do this by Tablespoons so that you can recalculate the points total. I didn’t need any additional flour.)

 Kneading by hand: (according to the cookbook) After the yeast mixture has been sitting for 10 minutes, fold the oil and the bran into the yeast mixture. Meanwhile, mix together the whole wheat flour and the salt in a medium bowl. Fold the whole wheat flour/salt mixture into the yeast mixture, one cup at a time. Then begin adding the 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour a little bit at a time and knead the dough right in the bowl, adding more flour as needed for 10 minutes. The dough will continue to be sticky.

3. Form the dough into a ball while it is still in the bowl.

Meanwhile, spray a very large bowl with cooking spray. If necessary, you may dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface, wash and dry the mixing bowl, and put the dough back into the mixing bowl. Place the dough in the bowl coated with cooking spray, and spray the top of the dough with more cooking spray. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a towel and leave it in a warm place to rise for about 2 hours or until doubled in bulk. A good way to check it is to press into the dough with your finger. If the indentation remains after a few minutes, your dough has probably risen enough.

4. After the dough has risen, flour your work surface and lightly spray your hands with cooking spray. Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto your work surface and knead for 1 minute, adding cooking spray to your hands as necessary. Shape the dough into a ball.

5. Give your large bowl another spray of cooking spray and then place the dough back in the bowl and spray the top with cooking spray. Cover again with the plastic wrap and the towel and allow it to rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until nearly doubled in bulk again.

6. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees with a rack in the middle about 30 minutes before the time that the dough should be finished rising. Place a small shallow pan of water in the back corner of the oven or on the bottom rack to create a bit of steam and allow the water to preheat along with the oven. 

7. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray or sprinkle a bit of cornmeal on a baking stone. Gently turn the dough out onto your baking sheet/stone and spray your hands with cooking spray. Use your hands to gently reshape the dough into a ball. Right before you put it in the oven, use kitchen scissors or a sharp knife to make a few slashes in the top of the loaf.

8. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the loaf has a hard crust and sounds hollow when tapped.

This makes 14 unofficial 2 point servings.

Photos of the process:

The yeast should start to bloom and look sort of creamy/cloudy. If it doesn’t, you may be using yeast that has lost its punch. This step is always a good way to make sure that your yeast is still good before you incorporate all of the other ingredients.

Testing out the yeastThe dry ingredients looked pretty, and I couldn’t resist snapping a photo!

The Dry TeamI used my mixer, although I’ve made plenty of bread kneading by hand so either way should work fine! I found this dough easy to work with and it nicely pulled away from the edges of the mixing bowl and formed itself into a ball. How cooperative!

Kneading by MixerAfter the 1st rise, the dough was kneaded for one minute and formed into this lovely ball:

Ready for the Second RiseAfter the second rise, the dough was shaped into a ball once more and then placed on my pizza stone for baking. If you don’t have a pizza stone, a baking sheet will work just fine! I will tell you that pizza stones are quite useful– even if you are simply heating up a frozen pizza!

Ready for the OvenAfter it was finished baking, I gave it a tap and it sounded hollow. It also had a hard and crisp crust on the outside. Done!! Wow, did my house smell goooood!! Of course, I had to sample it while it was warm. I added a bit of dalmatian fig and orange spread. It was YUMMY!!

Sampling the GoodsAs you can see, this is a pretty dense bread. The crust is nice and crispy and it toasted up nicely this morning for breakfast. I had some with a bit of peanut butter and a couple of scrambled egg whites on the side. It was hearty and cozy and lovely! 

A Closer LookI hope you will give it a try! Who needs fancy candles when you can make your home smell like fresh bread. Why doesn’t Yankee offer that scent?? 

Now! The moment you’ve all been waiting for (or scrolling quickly to reach…)

BSI!!!!!

I’m amazed at all of the awesome recipes submitted for this week’s BSI!! I picked black beans because they’re great for you, they’re inexpensive and easy to find, and I really love them!  Now I have a bunch of cool recipes using my favorite bean in a number of new ways!! I might be the real winner! Of course, all of the fabulous entries made it ridiculously hard to pick a black bean champ.

After consulting with a couple of friends and a giving it a lot of consideration, this week’s winner is: Becca at Bites of the Day with: Black Bean and Avocado Cornmeal Muffins. 

Becca’s muffins are chock full of delicious things (including yummy avocado), look beautiful and would be great on their own or alongside a bowl of soup or a pot of chili. Yum! Thanks again to everyone who entered. I’m sure I won’t be the only person enjoying the recipes you came up with in the future! Becca, I’ll be e-mailing you to find out where to send your prize! Congrats!!

That concludes my week of hosting the BSI, and I’m passing the torch to Spiceaholic over at One Bite at a Time. Her BSI entries the last couple of weeks have caught my eye, and I love the spicy dishes she features on her site. If you haven’t checked it out, now is your chance. I can’t wait to see what she picks as this week’s BSI and start planning my own entry!

Other Contest News:

Don’t forget about the contest I’m hosting to celebrate my 50th post! You can win two of my favorite yummy snacks that were previously featured in Friday weigh-in/featured snack posts. For information about how to enter, please go here.

We are having an exceptionally snowy day for the DC area. I hope you are warm and cozy wherever you are. I’m off to make cocoa and to decide what to have for lunch with my chunk of bread!! Have a great day!

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Filed under Baking, Bread, BSI, diet, Food, Recipes, Uncategorized, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story, Weight Watchers