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Texas Wheat Bread and Market Report November 5, 2009

Filed under: Austin Farmers Market,bread,bread machine,easy — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 11:25 am

love that loaf

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Speaking of holidays, just visiting our local farmers markets has me gettin’ into the spirit.  Expect to find TWO sources of local asparagus (if all goes well) at Sunset Valley Farmers Market this Saturday:  McKemie Homegrown and newcomers Montesino (organic!).  Georgetown Pecan Company is back with new crop pecans.  Orange Blossom Farms returns with the first of this season’s tangerines.  Richardson Farms has been selling pastured turkeys (this weekend they plan to offer fresh again!) plus their own freshly ground whole wheat flour.  See below for my bread machine recipe using their Texas-grown wheat!

If you’re headed for the Austin Farmers Market this weekend, be sure to check out Dai Due‘s new booth for the crème de la viande:  charcuterie (including their famous lard!), carefully crafted from locally-sourced ingredients.  Shop local and get cookin’ so’s you can get to eatin’!

You can’t beat a bread machine for convenient sustenance.  On workdays, if I have nothing cooked up already, I can just throw some ingredients (good ones, of course) into the bread maker and know that my family won’t starve in my absence.

BREAD MACHINE WHOLE WHEAT LOAF makes 1 medium sized loaf

  • 2 Tablespoons orange juice (HEB’s selling our sweet ‘n’ juicy Texas oranges right now) plus enough water to equal 1 2/3 cups total liquid.  The OJ is optional, especially out-of-season, but it helps tame the bitterness some folks detect in wheat bran.
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons local honey.  We Central Texans enjoy so many apiary options.  I’m partial to Good Flow’s local wildflower nectar from Central Market’s bulk department.
  • 2 Tablespoons organic butter.  I like Organic ValleyClick for a coupon.
  • ½ cup organic old-fashioned oatmeal or ½ cup plus 1 teaspoon organic quick oats (for an even lighter crumb).
  • 300 grams (about 2 ¼ cups plus a scant Tablespoon) Richardson Farms whole wheat flour.  If measuring by volume, stir up the flour to loosen it, then lightly spoon it into your measuring vessels.
  • 130 grams (about 1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon plus 5/8 teaspoon) organic all-purpose flour—Whole Foods 365 is usually the best priced.
  • 1 ½ teaspoons instant (bread machine or Rapid Rise) yeast—NOT active dry

Put all the ingredients into your bread machine in the order specified in your instruction manual.  In my Zojirushi, that would be the order I have listed.  I use the regular cycle (not whole wheat or quick) and get great results.

An interesting note about freshly ground flour:  Used within 7 hours of milling (some sources say 8-24), the flour should work as expected in your doughs.  However, after that initial post-grinding period, enzymes get to working and interfere with the flour’s behavior.  I noticed that effect when I made my first batch of bread with Richardson Farms fresh ground flour the day after purchasing it.  After storing for 10 days or so (some sources say one week, others claim two), those enzymes settle down and the flour will perform reliably.  So I recommend putting that new bag of fresh ground flour in the freezer for a week before embarking on baking.  My third batch, baked 15 days after purchasing my flour, baked up the lightest.


Gettin’ Saucy October 23, 2009

Filed under: bread machine,easy,pizza — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 1:16 pm

Was it Thursday again?—Already?  These weeks just fly right by.  I’m always smearing our pizzas with some sauce concoction or other and today the combination of ingredients umamified my pies such that I had to share the” recipe”.  No pictures today.  Our camera’s battery broke so we sent it to the vet—I mean camera doctor.

For saucing three pies:

  • ½ cup toasted almonds or other nuts.  Newflower Market is still selling bulk organic almonds for only $6.99 a pound.  Local pecans are in season now, available at our farmers markets and Navidad Farms.
  • 1 or several garlic cloves.  I’m still buying elephant garlic from Hairston Creek FarmMorning Glory Farm may show up with more of the stinking rose tomorrow.
  • 2 ¼ to 2 ½ ounces arugula (about 4 cups, loosely packed).  Flintrock Hill sells conveniently bagged rocket.
  • 2 teaspoons turbinado sugar.  I buy this in bulk at Central Market.
  • 3 Tablespoons dried basil or about a ½ cup fresh.
  • about ½ cup pitted olives.  I used spiced oil-packed black olives (on clearance for $1.99 a jar at CM.)  Other varieties will work.  Check out Texas Olive Ranch‘s Texas-grown olive offerings at our farmers markets.
  • 1/3 cup organic miso, any style.  I used South River sweet white miso from Whole Foods.
  • 1 28-ounce can organic whole tomatoes—I like Muir Glen, preferably “fire-roasted,” drained, crushed with your hands and drained some more.

I put everything except the tomatoes into the food processor and let ‘er whirl.  Then I stirred in the toms.  Add more salt if necessary.

I slathered the crusts, which I made with organic whole gain spelt flour (at a little less than half the total flour called for) and organic all-purpose flour—see Pizza 1.5 for basic recipe.  I used a touch more water for this batch, which yielded a lively, bubbly dough that baked up brown and crisp as all get out (I added a minute or two to the baking time because of the looser sauce and moister dough.)  So if you find some whole spelt flour in your freezer, try it out for your pizzas!

Dusted with reggiano and dotted with mountain gorgonzola (a freebie from work), peppered with sliced local red jalapenos (for the grownups) and feathered with frills of sliced local red onion (napped with olive oil), this week’s umami-pies tasted almost meatily satisfying.

I know it’s only Friday, but who says you can’t bake pizzas on the weekend?!


Focaccia in the Rye October 6, 2009

Filed under: bread,bread machine — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 12:45 pm
baking wryly

baking wryly

Craving a heartier rendition of that Italian flatbread?  I’m crazy for the taste of rye.  Some folks claim they don’t like rye bread, but usually they just don’t care for caraway (which I think is yummy, too!).  For all you rye lovers, here’s a focacci’er fer ya.

FOCACCIA IN THE RYE makes one 12″ round

  • generous 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt.  I like Real Salt.  I buy this in bulk at WF.
  • 1 teaspoon local honey.  Central Market sells Good Flow in bulk.  I always bring my own jar.  The staff can tare the weight for you.
  • 1 teaspoon organic or local (Texas Olive Ranch) olive oil, plus more for tossing your onions and shaping your dough.  For cooking and baking, I like the price of CM’s organic oil.
  • 130 grams (about 1 cup plus a scant ¼ cup) organic whole grain rye flour.  I use Arrowhead Mills.
  • 70 grams ( about 2/3 cup) organic white whole wheat flour.  Whole Foods sells the 5# bag of King Arthur brand.
  • 100 grams(about ¾ cup plus 1 ½ Tablespoons) organic all-purpose flour.  WF 365 organic brand is usually the best buy.
  • 1 teaspoon bread machine yeast.  Also labeled rapid rise or instant.
  • 2/3 cup chopped mixed olives.
  • 1 quarter of a large red onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano.  Right now, through tomorrow, Sprouts (in Sunset Valley on Brodie Lane) is offering reggiano for only $11.99 a pound.  Stock up!  Other cheeses will work here.  Try gruyere, pecorino romano, and aged goudas or goat goudas.  Venture to your favorite cheese counter and try some new quesos.

I use the bread machine to mix this dough and give it the first rise.  For my machine the wet ingredients go in first, then the flours, and finally, the yeast is poured in last.  I make sure the yeast isn’t touching any wet ingredients.  Set the machine to the “DOUGH” cycle and go about your business.  Usually, on most machines, a beeper will sound about 20 minutes after the mixing begins.  You can add chunky ingredients, such as your olives, at this time.  Or you can  wait until you form the dough and poke your olives into the top, where they’ll cook up more discernibly.

If you’re not using a bread machine, you can mix and knead the dough by hand.  Rye flour yields a heavy, sticky, mortar-like dough (but bakes up crisp and springy!) that’s not exactly a pleasure to work by hand.  You won’t achieve a smooth and bouncy ball, just aim for getting it all mixed and worked together very well.  Let rise 1½ hours to 2 hours.  It’ll look messy.

When your dough has risen, grease up a 12″ wide and 1″ or so deep, parchment-lined pan with olive oil.  Make sure your baking stone is on the bottom rack of your oven and start heating it up to 400º.

Using olive oil, grease up your hands very well and place the dough into the pan.  Lacking elastic cohesion, the sticky mass will resist your efforts to relocate it in one piece.  Use a spatula or a dough scraper and persist.  Once in the pan, the dough will settle down more cooperatively.  Re-lube your hands with about a Tablespoon of olive oil and pat the dough out flat, pressing up on the edges to make a bit of a lip around the perimeter.  The putty-like dough should give in easily at this point.

Poke your olives into the dough, if adding them now.  Oil up your onion slices and arrange them on top—children might like to help out and create a flower design or silly face on the surface.  Sprinkle the whole thing with however much freshly cracked black pepper your young’uns can take, and top it off with the cheese.  Let rise for 45 minutes.

Place the pan of dough on the baking stone and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and raise heat to 425º.  Using potholders and a large spatula, carefully lift the focaccia out of the pan, sans parchment, and place it directly on the baking stone.  Bake for another 4 or 5 minutes, until well-browned and crisp-bottomed.  Place on a cooling rack and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.  This bread doesn’t last long enough at our house to cool off too much!


Fastest Pizza Sauce and Pizza 1.5—Equals Three October 2, 2009

Filed under: bread machine,pizza — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 10:07 am


Thursday is Pizza Day at our house.  As I usually don’t work on Thursdays, I frequently make our pizzas.  I like to concoct “sauces” based on whatever ingredients we have on hand, so that could mean anything from spinach and toasted pecan or almond pesto, Texas mushroom duxelles, or simply sauteed seasonal veggies, minced or pureed.  Roasted tomatoes, if discovered hiding in the fridge, will also make their way onto the pizzas, but typically topically, and not as a spread.  Though the family always seems to relish our pies, I do wonder if my 5-year-old wishes sometimes for pizza with a “normal” sauce!

Necessity’s sister, expediency, being the mother of slap-dashery (what kind of family is this?), led to a recent Thursday’s time-crunched pizza sauce.

FASTEST PIZZA SAUCE makes enough to slather three 12″ pies

  • one 6-ounce can organic tomato paste.  I use Muir Glen.  If you sign up for their “Connoisseurs Club,” you will receive a coupon offer immediately.
  • one 14.5 ounce can organic diced tomatoes, well drained (use a sieve).  Muir Glen’s Fire-Roasted are my favorite, but right now  Sprouts is selling 28-ounce cans of Muir Glen organic love apples, assorted varieties (but not fire-roasted) for $1.99.  Use half a can’s worth.
  • 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
  • a couple teaspoons of olive oil, Texas Olive Ranch or organic.
  • a teaspoon or so of dried oregano.  If you’ve got the time and resources for fresh herbs, go right ahead and triple the quantities.
  • a teaspoon or so of dried basil.
  • a 1/4 teaspoon or so dried thyme.
  • 1, 2, 3, 4 or more cloves of garlic, minced or pressed.  Use local if you have some.  Organic domestic is my next choice.

Stir everything together.  That’s it.  Now you’ve got a “regular” pizza sauce.  If you have a spare minute or two, you can warm up the olive oil in a very small skillet and bloom the seasonings (don’t do this to fresh basil) to bring out their fragrance.

Because I send my kindergartner to school every Friday with leftover pizza slices, and because the baby is growing and eating more, AND I’m still fully lactating, two pizzas no longer suffice.  Now I must pizz’er in triplicate.  I offer here the new formula for three crusts.  See my pizza post for complete directions.

PIZZA DOUGH makes enough for three 12″ crusts

  • generous 1 1/3 cups water
  • ¾ teaspoon dried oregano or Italian herb blend
  • ¾  teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons turbinado sugar or local honey
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons olive oil, Texas Olive Ranch or organic
  • 450 grams flour–I use about 225 grams organic white whole wheat and 225 grams organic bread flour or all-purpose flour.  This is approximately 3¾ cups total flour.
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons instant (bread machine or rapid-rise) yeast

Of course you’ll be dividing the dough into three pieces, instead of two.  Now there’s enough.


Tomatoes fine, if fewer; Pizza! August 9, 2009

Filed under: bread machine,easy,pizza,vegetarian — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 9:12 am

The Central Texas mid-summer heat has done in many of our local tomato plants.  I’m still finding romas and smaller types at the farmers markets.  These are perfect for slow-roasting in the toaster oven.  I line my baking pan with a sheet of parchment and toss in the tomatoes, halved lengthwise.  I give ’em a healthy drizzle of olive oil, a pinch each of dried oregano, dried basil, dried thyme, small pinch of ground coriander and a tiny pinch of ground fennel plus lots (you decide) of black pepper.  Stir them around and align them cut-side up.  Now they’re ready for your 300º oven, where they’ll bask for an hour and a half or so, til they’re as done as you want.  These sweet gems are just right for pizzazzing your pizza.  Here’s how I usually make mine.

PIZZA yields  1 thicker-crusted or 2 thinner-crusted pies

  • scant 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or Italian herb blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar or honey
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 300 grams flour–I usually use about 160 grams kamut and 140 grams bread flour or all-purpose flour.  This is approximately 2 1/2 cups total flour.
  • 1 teaspoon instant (bread machine or rapid-rise) yeast

Place the ingredients into your bread machine in the order listed, unless your machine directs otherwise, and program it for the “dough” cycle.  Making pizza at home in the summer uses a lot of energy (unless your forno is out back) with all the heatin’ up and requisite coolin’ down you gotta do.  But at least you can put your bread machine outside.  If you’re up for grilling your pie, check out Fine Cooking magazine’s helpful video instructions for grilled pizza.

My bread machine’s dough cycle runs 2 hours, so when about  30 minutes remain I heat my oven to 400º for a thick pizza or 425º for thin ones.  I use a pizza stone (make sure it’s in the oven now!) and of course they’re frequently available at the thrift stores for a bargain price.

For a thicker crust, I use a 12″ X 1 1/4″ round pan and for thinner crusts I use a mismatched set of 10″ and 12″ very shallow round pizza pans.  There’s no reason you can’t use squares or rectangles if that’s what you have.  I line the pans with parchment paper and oil them up very well with olive oil.  When your dough is ready, use liberally oiled hands to remove the dough and place it onto your pan(s).   Give the dough a minute to rest and then you can start gently stretching it to fit your pan.  If the dough resists your efforts, give it a respite to relax.  It’ll loosen up.  Once your dough is stretched, top it how you please.  Just don’t overload your pizza or the crust will sag with sog.

My pizza toppings vary with the season, my larder and my whims.  Lately I’ve spread them with homemade arugula pesto, minced garlic-stuffed Texas green olives, shredded Full Quiver Farms mozzarella or any of our many fine local goat cheeses, grated pecorino romano and sliced local sweet onions tossed w/ olive oil.  A sprinkling of dried oregano, black pepper and crushed red peppers zests it up.  After 20 minutes (10 minutes for the thinner crust) I remove the pizza from the oven, top it with some roasted tomatoes (coarsely chopped or not), take it out of the pan and place it directly on the baking stone.  I raise the oven heat to 425º if it’s not there already.  For the crispin’, the thicker pizza may take around 10 minutes and the thinner around 8.  Remove to a cooling rack and don’t burn yourself!


Bread Out Back July 4, 2009

Filed under: bread,bread machine — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 3:26 pm
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I generally use my bread machine just for mixing and kneading dough but in the hot hot months here I’ll bake an occasional loaf in the machine itself.  You already know it’s super easy to just dump in your ingredients, push the button and go.  I’ve now taken to putting the bread maker outside to keep the heat where it belongs.  Not quite the same as having a wood-burning forno or tandoor in the backyard but getting the job done nonetheless.  Here’s a cornmeal bread that bakes on the quick cycle (about 2 hours) that’s especially great as toast with some Luckly Layla butter or Organic Valley Pasture butter.

CORNMEAL BREAD for the bread machine

  • 2/3 cup plus 3 Tablespoons water
  • 3/8 cup milk (6 Tablepoons), preferably local
  • scant teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons local honey
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 325 grams (2 1/2 cups) bread flour
  • 4 1/4 ounces (scant 1 cup) organic yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon bread machine yeast

Your machine’s instructions will tell you in what order to place the ingredients into the pan.  In my machine, that would be the order listed.  Take your machine outside–it’s best to bake in the shade.  Program your loaf on the quick or rapid bake setting and go back inside to cool off!

This recipe makes a small loaf.  If you find yourself with leftovers, tear or cut the bread into chunks and stash it in a bag or other container in the freezer.  I do this with almost any kind of stale bread.  When your stash is full, you can easily bake up some improv stuffing–in the toaster oven of course!

Today we enjoyed this bread with purple hull peas from Oak Hill Farms ($4.99 per 1 pound bag) from Central Market.  You’ll find various cowpea types at our farmers markets right now.  In addition to my standard fixin’s, I sparkled this pot o’ peas with a few of Finca Pura Vida’s small oblong greenish-red tomatoes and a languishing leek type thing (elephant garlic, I believe) from the back of the veggie drawer.  Some fresh oregano, marjoram and savory from my herb garden didn’t hurt either.  Tender palates in this house can’t take much spice so I drizzled the grown-up portions with a little pickled jalapeno brine.  I almost never let good brine go to waste.  I use olive brine for seasoning veggies and sometimes hummus and I’ve been known to quick-fix my cucumber salad with some leftover pickle juice.  Waste not!

January 25, 2010                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Speaking of zero-waste,  leftovers from this loaf toast up into first rate breadcrumbs.  You can store them in the freezer if you don’t eat ’em all up with a spoon!


Appliance Theory May 12, 2009

Filed under: bread machine,slow cooker,thrift — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 4:55 pm
Tags: ,

I hope you’ve discovered thrift stores.  They’re not just for collectors.  Many of my kitchen appliances have come—quite cheaply—from the resale shops.  The toaster oven (gotta have one in Texas), Cuisinart ice cream maker, Cuisinart mini processor ($2.50—really!), salad shooter (aka poor man’s food processor), both of my slow cookers, and, OK, almost all of my waffle iron collection.  Too many implements for me to remember, geez or even own, have come into my life via the thrift store.  Do you need a bread machine?  Depending on your requirements a used model may be just right for your kitchen and your budget.  For almost whatever you need, I advise a trip to your local used goods outlet.