Brushing the top of your bread is always optional. But here are some handy things to keep in mind. Before rising or when putting bread into the oven or even both times, mix 1 whole egg and 2 Tbsp of milk or water, then brush your loaves, buns, or biscuits. You may like to place a slit in the top before doing this.
Egg yolk will give you a dark and soft shiny crust (great for sweet breads)
Egg white will give you a light but hard crispy top ( French bread style)
Before baking: Immediately after brushing with egg, seeds or grains ( poppy seeds, sesame seeds, etc. ) may be sprinkled on top of the bread. The egg will act like glue, holding the topping in place.
Flour (using no egg) can be patted or smoothed on top of your loaf, just use your hands. This produces a very pretty and rustic loaf.
One 1/4-ounce (0.25-oz.) packet of dry yeast (active dry, instant active dry, bread machine) which equals
1, 0.06-ounce fresh, compressed cake yeast cube which equals
2-1/4 teaspoons dry yeast (active dry, instant active dry, bread machine)
Warm the flour in a preheated oven for about 10 on the very lowest setting of the oven, 150 degrees. You do not want it hot, but yeast just loves to be added to nice warm flour. I do this if I am using yeast that has been proofed or yeast that needs no proofing. I warm the flour regardless.
You can warm it in the microwave also. Just place the flour in the microwave on high for 20 seconds.
Another hint.....You can use this when baking in your bread machine as well as with oven baked bread. Give your bread that bakery look by applying a glaze for a beautiful crust. Mix together 1/2 c. cold water and a teaspoon of cornstarch. Whisk this together in a sauce pan. Heat to a low boil. Stir really well and turn down your temperature and cook until mixture thickens and is clear. You use this to give your bread 2 good brushings. You brush this on your loaf 10 minutes before the bread is done and again 3 minutes before it is done.
My Buttermilk Biscuits
2 c. sifted flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 to 1 tsp. salt ( I just use a rounded 1/2 tsp.)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/3 c. lard
3/4 c. buttermilk
Blend first 4 ingredients together in bowl. Cut in lard ( I use my hands) until mixture resembles coarse meal. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients; add buttermilk all at one time. Stir with a fork until dough follows the fork. Lift dough from bowl and on a floured surface, gently form dough into a ball. Maybe knead it with only your finger tips for no more than 10 times to bring together.
Now you can either pinch off palm size balls of dough and gently form into a smooth ball or you can roll out your dough for cutting. I just pinch off the dough and roll it ever so gently in the palms of my hands.
If you are using cutter, just pat out dough with your hands to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with floured cutter using even pressure. Twist cutter only one time. Place your cut biscuits upside down, side by side on a greased baking sheet, letting them 'kiss' each other. Or you can place them in an iron skillet, gently touching each other. Brush or pat tops of biscuits with either plain milk or a mixture of 1 egg and milk.
Bake on a high heat (450F) for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of your biscuits and until they are golden brown.
Buttermilk Angel Biscuits
1 pkg. dry yeast
1/4 c. warm water
2 tsp. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. shortening (Crisco)
2 1/2 c. AP flour
1 c. buttermilk
3 Tbsp. melted butter for topping
Dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand while combining other ingredients.
Mix together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Cut in shortening until you a mixture that resembles small peas. Add buttermilk and yeast. Stir only until combined. Turn out onto floured surface and knead only long enough to bring your dough together in a ball. Pat out with your hands until dough is about ½-inch thick. Cut out your biscuits.
Place them close together in a greased pie plate. I use two pie plates, with 5 biscuits in each. Let stand while oven is heating.
Heat oven to 450 F. Brush tops of biscuits thoroughly with melted butter. Bake until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Braided Egg Bread
4-3/4 to 5-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast
1-1/4 cups water
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons margarine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 beaten egg yolk (optional)
2 teaspoons poppy seed (optional)
In a large mixing bowl stir together 2 cups of the flour and the yeast; set aside. In a medium saucepan heat and stir water, sugar, margarine, and salt just until warm (120 to 130 degrees) and margarine almost melts. Add water mixture to dry mixture along with the eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6 to 8 minutes total). Shape the dough into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface of the dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size (about 1 hour).
Punch dough down; divide in thirds. Cover; let rest 10 minutes. Roll each third into an 18-inch rope. Place ropes on a large baking sheet 1 inch apart and braid. Cover; let rise 30 minutes or until nearly double. Brush braid with egg yolk and sprinkle with poppy seed, if desired.
Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when you tap the top (if necessary to prevent overbrowning, cover loosely with foil the last 10 minutes of baking). Remove bread from pan. Cool on wire rack. Makes 1 braid (32 servings).
Make-Ahead Tip: Wrap cooled bread in freezer wrap or place in airtight freezer container. Freeze up to 1 month. Thaw overnight. Wrap bread in foil; bake in 375 degree F. oven for 10 minutes or until warm.
*Note: If you don't want to make a braid, shape this dough into two plain loaves and place in two greased 8x4x2-inch loaf pans. Let rise and bake as directed.
When available, use cracklings ( the crisp bits of pork left after lard has been rendered) instead of the salt pork.
1/2 lb. salt pork (rind removed), finely diced (about 1 1/4 c.)
2 c. cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs, well beaten
1 c. buttermilk
Cook salt pork in a skillet over low heat until crisp and brown; drain, reserving cracklings and 1/4 cup drippings.
Combine cracklings, cornmeal, baking powder, and baking soda; blend thoroughly. Add the butermilk and drippings to the eggs; mix thoroughly and stir into the cornmeal mixture.
Turn into a greased 11x7x1 1/2-inch baking pan or iron skillet. Bake at 400F for 25 to 30 minutes.
Eagle Brand Milk Yeast Rolls
2 tsp yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 c. canola oil
2 c. bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk, slight warmed.
Beat egg with mixer. In separate bowl, mix yeast, sugar, and condensed milk. Add this mixture to beaten egg and mix well. Add salt to flour, then add flour mixture to egg mixture. Mix until it is smooth, dough will be sticky.
Turn out onto floured surface and knead, trying to avoid adding to much addtional flour as you knead.
Place kneaded ball into greased bowl and let rise 1 hour in warm draft free place.
When the hour is up, punch down your dough. Then form dough into tiny little balls about the size of a quarter. Place on greased baking sheet, the turn over so the tops of all the rolls are greased or oiled.
Cover and let rise until double in size. They are still going to be tiny little rolls.
After this second rising, bake in a 400 degree oven for 8 to 13 min. Seems like a wide spread in time here, but lots depends on the temp of your particular oven, how long you have let the rolls rise , and how dark the pan is you are baking them on. So just watch for when they are a light golden brown and they are done.
They are very tiny!
Top of the Hill Kostbare Rollen
In small sauce pan scald 1 c. of milk
Combine milk with the following and let cool
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 package dry yeast
3 beaten eggs ( place eggs in bowl of warm water to bring to room temp. gently and safely before beating)
In large bowl: Combine all the above with 4 1/2 c. flour, mix until smooth dough forms. Place dough on lightly floured surface and knead for 3 to 5 min. Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover with damp towel and let rise until doubled in size.
Divide dough into three equal parts, working with 1/3 of the dough at a time( cover the other two, keeping them from forming a skin). Shape into rolls, place on greased baking sheet and brush with melted butter. Cover and let rise until almost double in size. Do not let them over-rise.
Bake at 400F for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove rolls from pan and brush with butter and cool on racks.
This dough can be kept in the fridge for 2 -3 days and baked in small batches.
Butter Me Knot Rolls
These are buttery tasting, and you will not feel the need to butter them when served.
1 c. warm milk (70 to 80F)
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs, room temp.
4 c. bread flour
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
Add yeast to warm milk. While yeast is proofing to your mixing bowl (with paddle attachment) add you butter, sugar, salt and eggs. Beat on low speed for about 1 minute. Add milk/yeast mixture. Beat to combine. Add flour 1 cup at a time, beating between additions. Beat on medium speed until dough begins to slap against the side of the mixing bowl. You can hear this change in dough consistency take place. When this happens, remove the paddle attachment and replace with dough hook. Beat on medium speed with dough hook for 5 minutes.
With plastic spatula, scrape dough from sides of mixing bowl, cover with bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes.
Punch down. Divide dough into 24 portions. Roll each portion into rope (about 5 inches or so). Tie in a knot. Brush with a mixture of butter and milk. Place on baking sheet and let rise 15 minutes.
Bake at 375F for 13 to 16 minutes.
***You may also roll these into a ball for a traditional roll shape.
Makes 24 rolls
My Cheesy Mexican Cornbread
You can make this same recipe with these changes below. I have been away from home and made this for other people and what they had was self rising everything. So I had to use the self rising flour and cornmeal and it still turned out great. Very tasty either way you decide to make it.
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces (and a little bacon grease if you have it on hand, if not don't worry)
1 c. yellow cornmeal
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. unsalted melted butter, warm not hot (measure butter after it is melted)
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 large egg
1/2 c. chopped jalapeno peppers or green chillies (for this batch, I used jalapeno peppers from a jar)
1/4 cup grated onions (grated onions....not chopped or minced, you want the onion juice to be present)
1/4 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1/4 c. plus 1 Tbsp. sugar (you can use up to 1/2 c. sugar, depending on your taste)
1 tsp. salt
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 (11oz) can Mexican whole kernal corn with liquid (I use Green Giant brand)
1 c. buttermilk ( you may not need it all or you may need a little more)
1 c. grated Cheddar cheese
1 c. grated Asiago cheese
a little bacon grease if you have some on hand, if not, it is OK
***have extra buttermilk on hand, your flour and cornmeal may require more depending on the meal, flour and the weather.
***if you don't have buttermilk on hand, don't fret, plain old regular milk or evaporated milk will work just fine in this recipe.
Preheat oven to 425F.
***A nice seasoned iron skillet is the real trick for good cornbread for me, hope you have one in your kitchen.
Place your iron skillet in the oven and let it get nice and hot.
Chop your peppers, grate your onion, grate your cheeses. Get all ingredients measured.
When your skillet is really hot, add your 1 stick of butter, that you have cut into 4 pieces. If you do have bacon grease here is where you need it. Add a couple of tablespoons to the skillet along with your butter. If you don't have bacon grease, don't worry, it is mainly for flavor.
***While butter is melting, mix your cornbread. All ingredients should be measure and ready to use, you want to mix your cornbread while letting your butter become bubbly hot, but don't let it burn.
In large bowl combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Just mix with a fork or your hands (my favorite kitchen tool) until ingredients are combined.
In small bowl, lightly beat egg, add warm melted butter and the 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add 1/2 c. buttermilk, Tabasco sauce, grated onions and peppers now and lightly mix to combine.
Make a well in your dry ingredients and pour in your milk mixture. This is where I use my hands, but ofcourse you may use a spoon. LOL! Mix to combine. Add can of corn along with any liquid. (the can I used doesn't have very much liquid in it). Mix again. Batter will be stiff and seem like it needs more liquid but don't add it just yet.
**Time to take a peek at your butter.....don't let it burn!
Now add both cheeses and mix with your hands or stir with large wooden spoon to combine. Add the 1/2 cup of buttermilk to make a thick but pourable batter. If you feel you need more buttermilk, add it now. You don't want the batter to be too liquid. Definitely not soupy, batter should be very thick but pourable.
By now your butter should be bubbling hot in your iron skillet. Pour your cornbread batter into your hot bubbly butter. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 425 F.
Cooking times may vary, my iron skillet is 10-inches wide and 3 1/2-inches deep and it takes mine exactly 25 minutes to bake. You want a nice dark crust, but you also don't won't to over cook it, that will just dry it out.
1 c. self rising cornmeal
1 c. self rising flour
1 c. regular or evaported milk
1/4 to 1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. vegetable oil
Add the peppers, Tabasco sauce, grated onions and cheese in the same amounts as above. The butter (1 stick) for your iron skillet remains the same, along with the cooking time.
Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread
2 c. whole-wheat flour
1 c. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. golden raisins
1 3/4 c. milk
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. Stir in raisins. Make well in dry ingredients.
Add the milk; stir till moistened.
Turn into a greased 9x1 1/2-inch round baking pan. Bake in a 350F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or till the top is browned.
Cool 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool thoroughly.
Wrap bread in foil or clear plastic wrap, and store overnight before serving