My Foray Into Food Storage

A regular gal learning about Food Storage, Home Cooking, Canning, Gardening, and more!


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New, Improved, Super Easy Homemade White Bread!

When do I ever leave well enough alone? If you ask my kids, they would tell you, “Never.” Sometimes messing with something truly destroys it, but, other times, it is so much better!

That’s the case with my homemade white bread. I started with a really great recipe from a friend and tweaked it to my family’s tastes. I posted that recipe with a step by step hereI tweaked it again and did a cost analysis for you (homemade versus store bought bread) and posted it here.

I kept tweaking the recipe and have received many compliments, including one from my sister who said it was the best bread she’s eaten. So, without further ado, here’s my updated white bread recipe.

 

 

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Easy, Peasy Bread by Laurie Nguyen (2 1-lb loaves)

Adapted from “Pound-It-Bread” by Joan Miller

 

1 ½ cup lukewarm water

2 T active dry yeast

½ cup granulated sugar

1 cup evaporated milk (can use regular milk, half-n-half, or cream)

1 T white vinegar

2 T (salted) butter, melted

2 t salt

1 ½ T dough enhancer

¼ cup vital wheat gluten (gluten flour)

5 ½ cups bread flour

 

Add sugar and yeast to water. Stir and let sit until yeast blooms (looks bubbly). Add vinegar to evaporated milk and let sit until yeast is ready. Stir water/yeast mixture again and pour into a mixing bowl along with evaporated milk/vinegar mixture. Add melted butter, and all dry ingredients.

 

Mix on low until a dough forms, then let your mixer “knead” the dough for a few minutes until it looks smooth. Dump onto a floured counter and divide dough into two equal pieces. Let dough rest/rise for 20+ minutes. After resting, pound each piece of dough for one minute (with a rolling pin), then form into a loaf and put in a greased loaf pan (8×4 to 9×5 size pan). Let rise until the dough is about 1 inch over the pan’s edge.

 

Place in a preheated 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. Cover with foil and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the bread is done. Remove from oven, then remove bread from pan and let it cook on a rack. You can cut it right away, but the slices will not be even, and your bread will get crushed. If you can wait until it’s completely cool, your slices will look a lot better and be more even.

 

 

 

In my family, the first loaf goes SUPER fast!  The second loaf lasts a little longer, but, often, by the time we finish it, it’s a bit stale and not so yummy anymore.  When I bought my larger loaf pans (my ode to my lovely new pans here), I decided to adapt my recipe to make one slightly larger loaf rather than two smaller loafs.  See the difference between the two pans?

 

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If you have large bread pans, you may want to use this version of the recipe.

 

Easy, Peasy Bread by Laurie Nguyen (1 larger loaf for a 10×5 pan)

Adapted from “Pound-It-Bread” by Joan Miller

 

1 cup lukewarm water

1 T active dry yeast

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup evaporated milk (can use regular milk, half-n-half, or cream)

2 t white vinegar

1 1/3 T (salted) butter, melted

1 1/3 t salt

1 T dough enhancer

2 T plus 2 t vital wheat gluten (gluten flour)

3 cups bread flour plus a little more (usually less than ¼ cup)

 

 

Same instructions as recipe above, except that this makes one loaf. Don’t divide when you put it on the counter to rest.

 

 

 

So, what do you think?  Have you thought about making your own homemade, sandwich bread?  If so, please try my recipe and let me know what you think!

 

Or, if you have your own favorite recipe, I’d love it if you shared it with me and my readers!

Laurel Laurie Staten Nguyen Newhall, CA

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Am I REALLY Saving Money? Part Two: Homemade Sandwich Bread (New, Updated Recipe)

One of my most popular posts, from my “Am I really saving money?” series.

 

 

Laurel Laurie Staten Nguyen Newhall, CA

My Foray Into Food Storage

As part of my “Am I Really Saving Money?” series, today I will analyze the cost of homemade sandwich bread versus store bought sandwich bread.  Homemade bread, when done well, tastesSO GOOD, and there are no “mystery” ingredients in your bread, since you made it yourself.  BUT, there’s a learning curve, isn’t there?  Is it worth it?  Will you really save that much money?  In today’s post, I posted my new, updated version of my favorite “Easy, Peasy Bread” recipe along with a cost analysis.  Look it over and decide what’s right for you and your family.

Without further ado, let us begin!  I usually buy Oroweat Country Buttermilk bread for my kids.  It’s their favorite.  I know that there’s not much fiber in it, but my boys love it.  It is only worth making bread if my boys like it as much as they like Oroweat…

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Who Knew Lemon Bars Were So Simple To Make?

Before I begin, a quick reminder: Today’s the last day to enter my May giveaway.  Click on this link to enter.

 

I work with the young women ages 12-18 at church, and, tonight, we’re having a special get together requiring yummy, dessert “finger foods.”  While I’m not sure if lemon bars qualify as “finger foods,” I don’t think anyone will complain.  I found this recipe online several years ago and added one simple thing (lemon zest) to make them truly special.  Here’s the recipe.

 

Super Delicious Lemon Bars!

Super Delicious Lemon Bars!

 

Lemon Bars

Adapted from a recipe by Patty Schenck found here

 

Crust

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened

 

Filling

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Juice of 2 lemons (6 tablespoons, can use bottled lemon juice)

4 eggs

zest from lemons, optional

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Combine 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and the butter.  Mix until well combined.  The mixture may be crumbly, but that’s okay.  Press the crust into an ungreased 9×13 pan.  Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Whisk together 1 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup flour.  Add lemon juice, eggs, and lemon zest, then whisk to combine.  Pour over hot crust and bake in preheated oven for an additional 20 minutes.  Let cool completely in pan before cutting, as the filling will be quite soft when hot.  Don’t worry!  It will firm up nicely as it cools.  Top with powdered sugar if desired.  You may also substitute lime juice and zest.

 

Here’s my photo step-by-step.

 

Gather your ingredients.  I didn't have two lemons, so I substituted bottled lemon juice for the additional lemon juice needed.

Gather your ingredients. I didn’t have two lemons, so I substituted bottled lemon juice for the additional lemon juice needed.

 

First, I preheated my oven to 350 degrees F, then I put 2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup of sugar and 2 sticks of butter in a mixing bowl.

First, I preheated my oven to 350 degrees F, then I put 2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup of sugar and 2 sticks of butter in a mixing bowl.

 

Using a hand mixer, I mixed the ingredients together until the flour and sugar were incorporated into the butter.  The texture is a bit crumbly, but that's exactly how it should be.

Using a hand mixer, I mixed the ingredients together until the flour and sugar were incorporated into the butter. The texture is a bit crumbly, but that’s exactly how it should be.

 

I pressed the crust mixture into a 9x13 pan.  TIP: Rather than use a spoon, I put a little plastic wrap around my fingers and use my hands to press the dough into the pan.  I use the plastic wrap, so the dough doesn't stick to my hands.

I pressed the crust mixture into a 9×13 pan. TIP: Rather than use a spoon, I put a little plastic wrap around my fingers and use my hands to press the dough into the pan. I use the plastic wrap, so the dough doesn’t stick to my hands.

 

See?  You can see where I used my fingers to press it into the pan, but no matter.  The crust is fairly uniform and will bake evenly.

See? You can see where I used my fingers to press it into the pan, but no matter. The crust is fairly uniform and will bake evenly.  I popped it into my preheated 350 degree F oven for 20 minutes.  You may need more or less time depending on your oven.

 

While the crust was baking, I used my Microplane grater to zest my lemon.  I also juiced it and measured out the additional lemon juice needed from my bottled lemon juice.

While the crust was baking, I used my Microplane grater to zest my lemon. I also juiced it and measured out the additional lemon juice needed from my bottled lemon juice.

 

Next, using a whisk, I mixed together 1 1/2 cups of sugar and 1/4 cup of flour.

Next, using a whisk, I mixed together 1 1/2 cups of sugar and 1/4 cup of flour.

 

Then I added the eggs, lemon juice, and lemon zest and, using the whisk, I mixed until everything was well incorporated...

Then I added the eggs, lemon juice, and lemon zest and, using the whisk, I mixed until everything was well incorporated…

 

Like this.

Like this.

 

Soon after I mixed the filling, the crust was done baking.  See how it's brown around the edges and golden brown in the center?  It's perfect!

Soon after I mixed the filling, the crust was done baking. See how it’s brown around the edges and golden brown in the center? It’s perfect!

 

I gave the filling mix one good stir with the whisk, then gently poured the filling over the hot crust.  I put it back into the oven for 20 minutes.

I gave the filling mix one good stir with the whisk, then gently poured the filling over the hot crust. I put it back into the oven for 20 minutes.

 

I rotated it once during baking, because my oven has some hot spots.

I rotated it once during baking, because my oven has some hot spots.

 

I sprinkled on some powdered sugar.

I sprinkled on some powdered sugar.

 

Then I cut them into 1 1/2 inch squares.  They sure are yummy!  Sweet and tart all in one little bite.  YUM!

Then I cut them into 1 1/2 inch squares. They sure are yummy! Sweet and tart all in one little bite. YUM!

 

Who knew 5 ingredients could taste so good? Much better than the boxed kind!

What’s your favorite simple recipe?