Thursday, May 26, 2016

Sandwich Bread Loaves

Subs. Hoagies. Po'boys. Grinders. Heroes.

There are so many names for sandwiches made on this bread. I guess it all depends on where you hail from. Whatever you call them, they're delicious. 

 Before rising

At first, I called this recipe "sandwich loaves," but that was before I discovered what a sandwich loaf actually is. 

Yeah. Not so appetizing. Apparently it was a popular meal in the '60s. No thanks!! 

After rising

These sandwich bread loaves are so yummy. We eat them with cold cuts, as toasted sandwiches, as crawfish po'boys, as garlic bread. . . They work for everything! 

The best part is that this bread still tastes good for up to 3-4 days after you bake it, so you can make them ahead of time and eat the leftovers for lunch for the rest of the week. 

Scoring with a lame

A lame (pronounced lahm like llama without the a) is a little tool used to score bread. I just bought one for myself, and this was my first time using it. It works way better than a knife for me, so if you make bread frequently, I would recommend getting one! Here's the one I bought. 

The original recipe makes 2 large loaves, but I make 8 sandwich loaves. You can size and shape the loaves however you like. Recipe adapted from Naomi Cakes

Sandwich Bread Loaves

Yields: 2-10 loaves, depending on the size 

1/2 cup warm water
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp yeast (or 1 packet yeast)
2 cups warm water
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp oil 
5 + cups flour (more if needed, depending on your humidity and temperature)
1 egg with a splash of cold water for egg wash

1. Combine 1/2 cup water, 1/2 tsp sugar, and yeast. Stir until dissolved and let activate for 10 minutes. 

2. While the yeast is activating, mix together the remaining water, sugar, salt, and oil in large bowl (I use my Kitchenaid). Stir to combine. Add the yeast mixture and 2 cups flour and mix. 

3. Slowly add the remaining flour until the dough starts to remove from the sides of the bowl. Knead in the mixer or by hand until the dough slightly springs back when you press your finger into it. Let rise, covered, in a greased bowl until it's doubled in size. 

4. Punch down dough and shape into the desired shape. Let rise for 30-40 minutes, until puffy. Score the dough with a sharp knife and brush the loaves with an egg wash. 

5. Bake at 375 degrees until the loaves sound hollow when tapped. For the smaller sandwich loaves, it takes about 20 minutes. Larger loaves will probably take 30-40 minutes. 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Vanilla Wafers

I like to know what's in my food.

My least favorite part about fancy restaurants is that the menu often doesn't tell you what foods you're getting. Sometimes they'll just tell you the entree and "seasonal vegetables." Um... I'm gonna need more info than that.

Along with this idea, I also like to know what's in the food I buy at the grocery store.

While I'm not one of those people who's scared by the word "chemical" (read more here), I do like to make my foods as naturally as I can. Mostly because I think it tastes better that way. It's fresher, tastier.

The first time (and every time since) I made my homemade banana pudding, I didn't have vanilla wafers. It was late on a Saturday night, and there was a 0% chance I was going to drive to the store just to buy vanilla wafers.

So I decided to search the internet for a recipe for homemade vanilla wafers, and lo and behold, I struck gold.

These vanilla wafers are perfect for using in banana pudding, making tiny cookie sandwiches, or just popping into your mouth as they are (that's what I've been doing this week)!

They're fast and easy to make, and your little ones can easily help you make them. Recipe adapted from Baking Bites. Warning: These are super addictive.

Vanilla Wafers

Yields: between 4-8 dozen, depending on the size

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

1. Preheat oven to 325. Line cookie sheet with parchment or silpat.

2. Cream together softened butter and sugars. Add egg and vanilla.

3. Combine dry ingredients and slowly add them to the butter mixture until well incorporated.

4. Transfer dough to a piping bag with a plain round tip (mine's 1/2"). Pipe little blobs of dough onto the sheet. Smooth the tops with your finger. Bake 10-15 minutes, depending on how dark you want them.

5. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Happy Friday!!