Archive for the ‘bread’ Category

“why do they call it monkey bread?” -little spindler girls
“cause if you eat it, you’ll turn into a monkey” – mama spindler
(most likely followed by papa spindler’s impression of a monkey)

me and monkey bread go way back. my mom always made monkey bread for  special occasion dinners like birthdays or christmas….which might sound weird to you? cause monkey bread is sweet and more of a brunch time bread?! not at the spindler house. our monkey bread was always made without the cinnamon and sugar…so it was just yummy buttery bread…a perfect compliment to a steak dinner. it wasn’t till 7th grade and home ec that i realized there was another interpretation of the bread….and while I still love my family’s tradition/version of the bread….i’m also a lover of anything cinnamon.

(don’t worry mama…apparently nancy reagan also believed in monkey bread sans sweetness. her white house holiday recipe was published in the American Cancer Society cookbook in 1985.)

1 package of yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar

1 large egg
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt

1 cup water
41/2 cup flour

1 stick butter – melted
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

begin with your sponge. dissolve yeast and sugar into warm water. the go-to temperature is 110°. you need to be careful with your water temperature here, as yeast tends to be picky. if it’s too hot or too cold your yeast won’t play nice and neither will your bread. my tap water at it hottest was 120º so i let it sit for a while till the temperature dropped and then added yeast and sugar. set this mixture aside and let it rise.

in your stand mixer, with your bread hook attachment, mix together sugar, oil and salt. beat your egg and then add to sugar mixture.

your sponge (yeast/water mixture) should have risen by now…the tell tell sign is its frothy top.

add sponge and water to mixer. with your mixer on a slow speed, begin adding flour about a half a cup at a time. as you continue adding flour, the dough will begin to pull away from the sides of the mixer and form into a ball. this is pretty sticky dough, so don’t panic if you’re three cups of flour in and still don’t feel like you could knead the dough by hand without turning into a sticky dough mess. for me, once i got to four cups of flour, i felt comfortable  turning the dough out to a floured surface and giving it some kneading time with my hands with the last half cup of flour. i like to do this just to get a good feel for how soft or dry the dough is…it’s always best for your dough to be slightly sticky to the touch, so kneading it by hand gives me a good idea of what i’m working with.

once your dough is nice and kneaded, transfer it back to a bowl and cover with a damp towel so it can rise…about an hour…or till it’s doubled in size – whatever comes first.

once your dough has risen, give it one good punch and the transfer to a floured surface. melt your butter in one bowl…and mix together your brown sugar and cinnamon in another bowl. this will set up your dipping and coating station. roll out dough till it is about a half an inch thick. using a floured pizza cutter, cut dough into inch wide strips or squares. dip your dough into melted butter, then coat in brown sugar and transfer to bundt pan. drizzle remaining butter over dough. cover and let rise for about another hour.

preheat you oven to 350º. the extra warmth from the oven will probably even help your dough rise faster.

your bread will bake for 20-25 minutes. the top will begin to brown…i waited till mine was past the golden stage and just into the light brown stage before i removed mine…just to make sure all the edges would be baked. all that extra goo and butter will make the top of your bread very soft….melt-in-your-mouth-amazing soft

remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes before flipping upside down and removing from pan.

serve warm.

I. Love. Monkey. Bread. and I think you will too. with or without the sugar, this bread is delicious and hard to stop nibbling on if it’s within reach. add a cream cheese dipping glaze…and it’s hopeless. monkey bread = success…every time.

also…if you’ve been trying to justify buying these cute little dishes…but have no idea what you would use them for…here’s your excuse:

personal sized monkey bread! these little buddies have come in handy on more than one occasion for left over dough or cake batter….or reheating/baking leftover pasta and feeling fancy about it. they are adorable and cut down on waste…as i always end up with more batter/dough than i anticipated.

do it…you know you want to.



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“oh no, this is…i think i could eat the whole pan.
it’s all my favorite things rolled up into one”

I was in Half Price Books a few months back when I stumbled upon this recipe. it’s what single handedly sold me the cookbook i was looking through. such a great find as i love pretty much anything that has to do with onion flavored bread. so good. this is making an appearance at thanksgiving this year. sorry tube of crescent rolls.

2 cups all-pupose flour

1/4 cup minced chives or green onions

1/2 cup cheddar cheese (and some extra to sprinkle on top.)

1 T baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground pepper

1 & 1/3 cups  heavy cream

2 T melted butter

position your oven rack to the top 3rd of the oven and preheat to 425.

in a large bowl, mix pretty much everything, flour, onions, cheddar, baking powder, salt and pepper. then gradually stir in the cream as your dough forms a ball.

on your floured work space, start kneading your dough until it is smooth. roll out to about 1/2 in thick and cut out your biscuits and place each biscuit on an ungreased cookie sheet. using the melted butter, brush the tops of each biscuit. bake for 10 minutes.

after 10 minutes, carefully sprinkle biscuits with shredded cheddar and bake for 5 more minutes. if omitting the cheddar topping, bake biscuits for the consecutive 15 minutes. once golden brown, take out of the oven and let cool.

this recipe is sure to get your mouth watering and will definitely make your kitchen smell amazing. please enjoy this simple little recipe.

happy holidays,


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soft pretzels

“i’ve been saving myself for this”

1 (.25 oz) packet of active dry yeast

2T brown sugar

1 1/8 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 of warm water (110 degrees F)

3 cups all purpose flour

1 cup bread flower

2T baking soda

2 cups warm water (110 degrees F)

2T butter, melted

kosher salt to taste, for topping

cinnamon to taste, for topping

sugar to taste, for topping

– – – – –

oil for greasing

plastic wrap or dish towel

pizza cutter

cookie sheets

cooking spray

in a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast, brown sugar and salt in the 1 1/2 cups of warm water, for about 8 minutes or follow the instructions on the back of your yeast packet. once dissolved stir in all 4 cups of flour and begin kneading your dough on a flour workspace for 8 minutes. by 8 minutes your dough should be smooth and elastic. lightly cover your entire ball of dough with oil and place back in the large bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a dish towel. set aside and let rise for 1 hour.

in an 8 x 8″ pan, combine your baking soda and  2 cups warm water and set aside and set your oven to 450 degrees.

cut it out. after your dough has risen, using a pizza cutter, cut into 12 pieces. then put the pieces back into the greased bowl, to avoid them from drying out. one at a time, roll each piece into a 3 ft rope then twist into the pretzel shape. once twisted dip the pretzel into your baking soda/water mixture and place on a sprayed cookie sheet. once your cookie sheet is full of pretzels, set aside for 15 more minutes, as they need one more chance to rise. then bake for 8 – 10 minutes or until golden brown. once baked, brush with melted butter and top with salt or cinnamon and sugar and you have one delicious pretzel, and don’t forget the mustard.

now enjoy some football this weekend and make some pretzels! happy friday!


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mustard and salt are best served over a pretzel! at least we think so. stay tuned because friday’s featured fair food is the soft pretzel. believe me you won’t want to miss this. my mouth is watering just thinking about them. :D


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takes a bite, looks at the chocolate inside and says, “well hello”

this recipe was a doozie. mainly because i’m not one to read instructions thoroughly. i much prefer to scan a recipe or whatever it is i’m reading. however, that tends to not be in my best interest especially when it’s a recipe that’s pretty involved.


3 sticks butter, softened at room temperature

4 cups all-purpose flour, approximately

2 tsp salt

2 Tbsp sugar

2 packages dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1-1/2 cups milk, warmed to 80°F to 90°F

1/2 cup half-and-half, warmed


2 – 3.5 oz dark chocolate, bars

egg wash

1 egg

1 Tbsp water

– – – – –

1 gallon sized zip-lock bag

1 damp tea cloth

pizza cutter

cookie sheets

13 x 9″ pans

1 glass pan

1 silicone brush/spatula

dough – in a large mixing bowl blend 2 cups of the flour with salt and sugar by hand. in a separate but small bowl, dissolve the two packets of yeast in the 1/4 cup of warm water. this takes about 8 minutes. once dissolved, add the flour along with the warm milk and warm half and half. with a wooden spoon, blend together to form the batter. do this for 2 minutes.

after the two minutes, at a 1/4 cup at a time, add the rest of your flour. stirring well after each 1/4 cup. as you are mixing, the goal is for the dough to be soft but not sticky. (for some reason mine was more on the sticky side. not really sure why) after all the flour has been added, knead for 5 minutes or with a bread hook with your electric mixer. i used my mixer.

cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for one hour. this will allow the bread to rise. about 30 minutes into the resting period, take out the butter to soften.

once your dough is finished chilling, make sure that the dough and the butter are about the same in temperature, 65 degrees. take your butter, cut each bar in half and then cut each half into 5 slicess longways. you will have 30 slices of butter once finished cutting. on a floured workspace, roll your dough out to a rectangle about 12 x 8″. take all 30 slices of butter and lay them out on your rectangle leaving about 1/2″ perimeter of dough exposed. layer slices of butter on top of one another if you’ve already covered the surface of your rectangle. fold your dough as if you were folding a letter, in 3rds. pinch your sides together so that the butter is not exposed. cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. we don’t want the butter and dough to be warm when we start to turn the dough, you always want it chilled.

when your 15 minutes is up place back on your work space and roll out to an 8 x 18″ rectangle. fold into thirds, then roll back out. fold back into thirds. you’ve just turned your dough twice. place back in the fridge for 15 minutes and repeat. do this one last time for a total of 6 turns ending on being folded in 3rds. this is how your dough gets its layered, flaky texture.  after the 6th turn and fold you will need to take a damp tea cloth and wrap your dough loosely and place in a gallon sized zip-lock bag. place in fridge anywhere from 4 hours to overnight. i left mine in the fridge for about 24 hours and the dough was quite large and the zip-lock bag was completely blown up and tightly full of air. i thought it was going to explode :D

once your dough has finished resting, place on the counter for about 15 minutes. on a floured workspace roll your dough out to a 10 x 38″ rectangle so that your dough is about 1/4″ thick. cut down the middle of your dough to make two 5″ wide strips. using a pizza cutter cut triangles that have 5″ bases, cutting the strips horizontally. take these triangles and place them onto cookie sheets and put in the fridge for 15 minutes.

filling – while dough is chilling, take your bar of chocolate and cut the squares into small strips. these small strips need to be a good size so that when you roll your croissants, the chocolate won’t be sticking out the sides. take your triangles of dough out of the fridge, place your chocolate on top and roll into traditional croissant shapes. cover with a 13 x 9″ pan and set to the side for 1 – 2 hours so that your croissants double in size.

egg wash – in a small bowl crack one whole egg and add 1 T water. scramble. after resting, using your silicone brush/spatula, brush egg wash over top of the croissant. this will give your croissants a beautiful finish.

bake – preheat your oven to 425 degrees. fill a glass pan with water, and microwave until boiling. 5 minutes before you place your croissants into the oven, add the glass pan of boiling water to the bottom most rack in your oven. when you’re ready place your croissants in the oven and turn the heat down to 420 degrees. bake for 10 minutes. turn your cookie sheets and bake for 15 more minutes or until golden brown.

this is an extremely involved recipe, but don’t be scared. once you have defeated this monster dough you will be very satisfied and happy you made the effort.

enjoy and have a great weekend,


p.s. as always, don’t hesitate to ask us questions if you need further coaching/explaining.


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there were no words….unless “om nom nom nom nom” counts

i feel like a detox is in order. this blog has been nothing but sweets for far too long. top that with the fact that i ate at 8 different bakeries on monday (see NYC research)…..we must put a stop to all the sugar! back to bread…my first love. a while ago my sis posted about a bagel recipe she came across that i have been wanting to try out for a long time…and she raves it’s delicious and so simple….so, why not?!

bagels have become one of many traditions in my family. when i moved to texas i moved into a saturday morning routine of bagels, coffee and sister time. with the three of us now in different cities, though, this gathering only happens from time to time. waa waa. but perhaps…if i can make the perfect bagel….i can lure them back to dallas….mwaa ha ha. the flaw in the plan being that this recipe came from one of them…hmmm….so she’s capable of making bagels for herself….BUT she also just had a baby…which means less time on her hands to do so….which means the upper hand is mine again! success!…now on to the bagels.

from itsallbananas:
1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. canola or olive oil
4-5 cups bread flour, or bread and half whole wheat (all-purpose four will also do instead of bread flour)
2 tsp. salt
Sesame, poppy or caraway seed to sprinkle on top (optional)
1 Tbs. baking soda

in a large bowl, stir yeast and brown sugar into 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water until it dissolves; let it stand for 5 minutes until it gets foamy.

stir in the oil and a cup of flour into the yeast mixture, add the salt and slowly begin adding in flour (i used half whole wheat flour for mine….mix the two flours together before you begin adding to mixer) i use my stand mixer and bread hook for easier clean up….but if you need to get your hands dirty….once you can manage the dough fold out onto a floured surface and continue kneading until you have worked all the flour in that you need. dough should be stiff.

divide the dough into 10 pieces. roll into balls. (if you are adding fruit or chocolate chips or whatever you wish….roll into your dough at this point) set aside and let rest for 20 minutes. use your thumb to make a hole in the middle of the ball and work the hole out so that you have a ring of dough. set aside and cover with plastic or a towel. let them rise for about 20 minutes while you boil a big pot of water (add in baking soda to water) and preheat the oven to 500 F.

when the water comes to a boil gently place a few bagels at a time into the water. boil on one side for 1 minute, then flip them over and boil for another minute. remove them with a slotted spoon and place on a wire rack to drain. once they have all been boiled, place them on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper and sprayed with nonstick spray.

bake for 5 minutes and then rotate the cookie sheet 180 degrees and flip bagels over. Add toppings at this point, like poppy seeds or cheese. Reduce heat to 450 degrees and continue to bake until bagels are golden.

remove from oven, transfer to cooling rack….toast, butter or add cream cheese and enjoy…..oh, and you will enjoy!….mmm.

for toppings/flavors i went with:
1. chocolate chip
2. blueberry
3. hatch chilies (thanks to central markets annual promotion) topped with asiago cheese
4. cinnamon chip topped with cinnamon sugar mixture
5. plain jane

extra tips:
there are versions of the bagel recipes that involve letting your dough sit overnight….i did this….but anna did not….so she can vouch for it not being necessary if you’re in a pinch. apparently letting the dough sit adds to the flavor…so here are the instructions:

after forming the dough into bagel rings, let rest for 20 minutes at room temperature. next, fill a large bowl with cool to room temperature water and drop in your bagel. if the bagel floats to the top in 10 seconds or less…it is ready to be refrigerated for the night….if not….continue to let it rest at room temperature until it passes the float test. i don’t know about you….but my bagels popped right up to the top. i’m not sure what kind of crazy dense bagels don’t pass the test….but that was just my experience.

after refrigerating, you can move on to the boiling step.

as far as toppings go….once you have your bagels in the oven….the next steps happen pretty quickly. do yourself a favor and have your toppings ready to go…..that means shred your cheese beforehand. for the cinnamon sugar….use two bowls, one with melted butter and one with a cinnamon sugar mixture. once the bagels have cooled after being removed from the oven (but are still warm) dip your bagel in the melted butter and then the cinnamon sugar. if using frozen fruit, like i did, don’t let them thaw…and work quickly. frozen blueberries like to turn into a goopy mess if you don’t act fast enough.

this was such a success. the process isn’t time consuming and all the ingredients are things you would typically have on hand. the coworkers were pleased…it was a bagel frenzy this morning that started at 9 and ended at 9:30…22 bagels diminishing to 3 and a half in a mere 30 minutes (who eats a half anways?! jenny!)…there were high fives, fist bumps and side hugs. i will definitely be making these again.


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“i just couldn’t keep walking by them without taking another one”

it may have taken me two days….but i committed! i will not be had by an english muffin! this journey began saturday and ended monday morning.

i knew i liked the taste of the recipe i tried last week…so i decided to give it another go…but this time thoughtfully and well timed. the end result was only 10 muffins, though, so i decided to try out another recipe…since i had the whole weekend.

the first…we’ll call the lazy dough. the second…we’ll call the monster dough.

don’t be confused….there is nothing lazy about executing this first recipe. it takes time and patience and then some more time. the dough is lazy…not the process. make the sponge, let it rest…sprinkle on the flour….don’t stir yet…let it rest rest….on and on we went….the dough begging for a snooze after every step…sheesh….lazy dough and lazy bakers…don’t mix.

recipe one (lazy dough)

1 cup & 1 1/2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup water at room temperature (70° – 90° F)
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

mix all ingredients of the sponge together in a large bowl – preferably in your stand mixer. whisk together until very smooth – about 2 minutes. the sponge will have a batter consistency and bubbles will begin to form almost immediately.

flour mixture:
1 cup & 1 1/2 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
about 1/3 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon melted butter

in another bowl whisk together the flour, dry milk and yeast. sprinkle this over the sponge mixture but don’t stir in. cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let this sit so it can ferment. 1-4 hours at room temperature….or apparently for the best flavor…1 hour at room temperature and then to the fridge for 8-24 hours. (are you starting to see why the first attempt was a failed one?) the sponge will begin to rise and come through the flour mixture…don’t be scared! :)

now it’s time for the dough. add your butter to the mixture and, with a dough hook in your stand mixer, begin mixing on a low speed (unless you like flour in your face) until mixture begins to come together to form the dough. make sure all the edges are scraped down and guess what it’s time for….cat nap! give the dough a rest for about 20 minutes. add in salt and begin to mix again…this time for about 10 minutes on a slightly higher speed. you can see the dough take on a smoother elastic look and once it is all holding together nicely you’ve probably mixed long enough. the dough will be slightly sticky.

time to nap again! grease a bowl for the dough….lightly oil the top of the dough and cover it with plastic wrap and set it aside for and hour or two or until it’s doubled in size. once dough has risen, punch down….lightly kneed back into a ball and refrigerate for at least an hour…up to 24 hours.

once the dough is chilled, lightly flour a clean surface to roll out your dough. roll into a rectangle about 8×12 and 1/4″ thick. using a 3 1/2″ biscuit cutter, you should be able to cut out 5-6 muffins. place on a cookie sheet that has been lightly covered with cornmeal…lightly dust the tops of muffins as well and let them rise again till they are about 3/4″ tall…about 45 minutes. (don’t be surprised but…) don’t get right back to rolling out the scraps again….they are gonna want to take another break. form scraps into a disc – cover and refrigerate for another hour or so….these buddies need to relax their gluten! (shakes her head) once relaxed and ready…your dough should yield another 4-5 more muffins. you should have about 10 total.

preheat your griddle to 275 – brush lightly with melted butter. add on your muffins but don’t crowd them. they cook for about 10 minutes on each side…but use your own judgment….you know what you’re looking for – golden brown bottoms…then flip and repeat. i read that one blogger was skeptical that a griddle would actually cook through the muffin….but don’t be scared and stick them in the oven to be sure….the griddle works, and works well….why in the world would the bread bible give you false information?

transfer to a cooling rack….add butter and jam/honey…and enjoy!

the monster dough….could also be misinterpreted. i have called it monster dough…not because it was a difficult feat, but because i literally felt like i was working with a monster. i could imagine the dough springing to life throughout each and every step….only growing and becoming more ominous the further we worked together.

recipe two (monster dough)

2 cups warm water (110°F to 115°F / 45°C )
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon dry active yeast

begin by stirring warm water and yeast together until yeast is dissolved. add in flour and mix until batter consistency. cover mixture with kitchen towel and let rest for at least 4 hours at room temperature. (for the record….this began my monster creation. as the starter bubbled and grew…it became a slimy mess that threatened to take over my kitchen…dum dum dummm)

1 teaspoon dry active yeast
3/4 cup warm water (110°F to 115°F / 45°C )

again, begin by dissolving the yeast in the warm water. (make sure it’s not too hot…this will kill the yeast) add in 2 cups of the starter and mix well. stir in milk and flour. mix till batter consistency. cover and let rest for an hour. (the monster is rising…eek!)

english muffins:
Sponge mixture
Remaining starter
4 cups unbleached bread flour (might be a little less than this. flour is a judgment call…you want it to stick together…be manageable….but not dried up with flour)
4 tablespoons honey
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons dry buttermilk powder
handful of cornmeal

stir your sponge and mix in the rest of your starter. with your dough hook in the stand mixer, mix in honey, salt and buttermilk powder. add in flour 1/2 cup at a time…let it mix in before you add more, so you can be sure you’re not using too much flour. again…you’re looking elastic texture…the whole wheat won’t make it as smooth as the previous mixture. if you have to go over 4 cups….because it’s still too sticky….do so sparingly. set the dough aside, cover and let it rise till doubled in size.

ok…so i don’t know if it’s just me…..but this seemed like a massive amount of dough. the monster dough was taking over my stand mixer….and possibly my kitchen. i made the mistake of leaving him alone….overnight to rise. when i came back in the morning….he had risen so much….he was pouring over the large bowl i let him rise in. i don’t know what he was after…but he was on his way…good thing i woke up when i did!

deflate your dough and lightly kneed into a ball. lightly flour a clean work surface to roll out your dough to a 3/4″ thickness. cut out using a 3 1/2″ biscuit cutter. sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal and place dough cutouts on top. again, lightly sprinkle the top and let them rise till they have doubled in size.

um….monster dough was not having it. he did not want to be rolled out and as i began to cut the first muffins out, they would shrink to a funny oval looking shape and the dough around it would quickly retract! arg! silly monster dough! just accept that you will be made into english muffins and eaten! i had to get to a point where i could roll the dough out….wait…make sure it wasn’t trying to go anywhere….and then cut (when it least expected) i literally felt like i was beating this monster to it’s death. it was twice the size i expected…and it was super stubborn. i kept throwing it down, rolling it out, flipping it over….rolling it more….anything i could do to kill the beast!

so the recipe says you should get 14-16 muffins….um….i got 33? yep….that’s monster dough for you!

once the muffins have risen to double their size move to griddle. preheat to 275° and cook batches of muffins….again, don’t crowd them. they will cook for about 10 minutes on each side….but use your judgment on when to flip. once browned on both side…transfer to a cooling rack….split open, butter and enjoy!

ok…compare and contrast:

lazy dough: 10 muffins
monster dough: 33 muffins (however it was supposed to be 14-16)

lazy dough: no nooks and crannies
monster dough: nooks and crannies

lazy dough: more of a biscuit texture
monster dough: definite english muffin texture

lazy dough: my personal favorite….taste wise….very good
monster dough: still very good…especially toasted….but definitely more of an english muffin….also had a grainy flavor due to the whole wheat flour

another empty tupperware at the end of the day = success. you should be warned that making english muffins is quite the task….but if you know what you’re getting into and can plan accordingly….they are worth the effort.


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