Mark likes toast for breakfast. I like muesli. This muesli raisin bread makes us both happy.
Muesli Raisin Bread
1 1/8 cups water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 2/3 cups unbleached white bread flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat bread flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened muesli
3 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons rapid-rise (instant) yeast
1/2 cup raisins
Set Global Sun Oven out to preheat. Lightly oil a baking sheet or line with parchment or a baking mat.
Pour water, oil and honey into bread machine pan. Sprinkle flours over the water, covering it completely. Add the muesli and milk. Add the salt in one corner of the pan. Make a small indentation in the center of the flour and add the yeast. Set the bread machine to the dough setting. Press start. Check the dough after a few minutes of kneading and add a little water if it’s too firm. Add the raisins when the machine beeps or during the last 5 minutes of kneading. When the dough cycle has finished turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Punch it down gently. Shape the dough int to a round and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Using a sharp knife make three cuts on the top about 1/2 inch deep, to divide the loaf into six sections. Cover the loaf with oiled plastic wrap and set aside to rise for 30 to 45 minutes, or until it has almost doubled in size. Bake the loaf in the Sun Oven until it sounds hollow when tapped, 45 minutes to an hour.
Makes 1 loaf
Tuesday has become my bread baking day. Today I made two loaves that I’ll slice up and store in the freezer. Hopefully it will be enough for the week. This is basically a white bread enriched with a little whole wheat flour.
Solar Farmhouse Bread
2 cups water
5 1/4 cups unbleached white bread flour
3/4 cup whole wheat bread flour
2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
Ever since I found out that buttermilk can be substituted with a milk and vinegar mixture I no longer avoid recipes that call for it. In the past, no matter how good my intentions were, I’d always wind up throwing away any purchased buttermilk that was left over. To make enough for this recipe put 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup then add enough milk to measure one cup. As usual, my recipe uses a bread machine to make the dough.
Solar Baked Buttermilk Bread
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Now that we only have one car and Mark is gone most of the day I have to learn to make do with what I have on hand. Luckily, I’d purchased some molasses for the BBQ lentils I made yesterday and all the other ingredients are pretty much pantry staples in my house. Surprisingly, this is one of the best recipes I’ve tried from my bread machine cookbook. I don’t know why I’ve passed over it all these years.
1 cup water
3 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon lemon juice
So, what do you do when you’ve bought a bag of parsnips to make a recipe that only uses one and you don’t really like parsnips? You scour your cookbooks and the internet for some way to use them up before they rot. Here’s what I came up with – Parsnip and Nutmeg Bread. It’s another recipe from the book “Bread Machine – How to Prepare and Bake the Perfect Loaf”. I’ve copied the recipe pretty much as written, except I bake mine in the Sun Oven rather than the bread machine. I had to add some flour during the kneading cycle or the dough would have been too moist. Next time, when I’ve once again convinced myself that parsnips are not all that bad, I’ll roast them rather than boil them. Hopefully that will solve the excess moisture issue
Parsnip and Nutmeg Bread
Scant 1 1/8 cups water
1 1/2 cups mashed cooked parsnips
3 1/4 cups unbleached white bread flour
1 tablespoon nonfat dry milk
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon instant yeast
Set Global Sun Oven out to preheat.
Pour the water into the bread machine pan and add the mashed parsnips. Sprinkle the flour over the water and the parsnips making sure they are covered. Add the milk and the nutmeg. Place the butter, salt, and sugar in separate corners of the bread machine pan. Make a shallow indentation in the center of the flour (do not go as far as the liquid) and add the yeast. Set the bread machine to the dough setting. Press start. Remove the dough at the end of the cycle and put it in a lightly oiled 8×4-inch loaf pan. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes. Bake in Sun Oven until the loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped, about 1 hour. Remove bread from pan and cool on a rack.
Even with my limited baking experience, I still manage to have more successes than failures. These two loaves of pumpkin bread came out prefect. As always, I used my bread machine to make the dough. I wouldn’t even know how to tell you how to make it by hand, I’m sure the real bakers out there will be able to apply their skill.
The pumpkin and the cornmeal give this bread a gorgeous orange hue and moist light texture.
Solar Pumpkin Bread
1 cup cooked pumpkin or other winter squash
2/3 cup buttermilk*
2/3 cup water
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 cups white bread flour
1 scant cup cornmeal
Sometimes I think I’ve developed a solar cooking sixth sense. I woke up this morning with a craving for fresh baked bread and immediately thought to myself, “The days are getting shorter; I’d better get started.” I got the dough going in my bread machine right away, before my morning coffee – I almost never do anything before coffee. By 11:30 a.m. it was ready to go in the Sun Oven and it was done shortly after noon. Then it got cloudy for the rest of the day, culminating with an early evening dust storm.
I chose this recipe, from the King Arthur Flour website, because I had all the ingredients on hand. It makes a tasty loaf that would be ideal for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Sun Baked Oatmeal Sandwich Bread
3 cups unbleached bread flour
1 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons honey
These savory muffins are the perfect accompaniment to yesterday’s frittata. They’re also good with soups, salads, or cheese. Use a high quality extra-virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
Solar Baked Olive Oil Muffins
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup semolina or white cornmeal
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup milk (whole, 2%,1%, or fat-free)
1/4 cup Marsala wine
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
Set Global Sun Oven out to preheat. Coat two muffin tins with six indentations each with cooking spray or line with paper muffin cups.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, semolina or cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl whisk the eggs, milk, and Marsala until smooth; whisk in the oil and lemon zest. Stir in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon until just moistened. Fill the prepared tins three-quarters full. Bake any leftover batter in a second batch. Use a rack to separate the two muffin pans and cross stack them in the Sun Oven. Bake until lightly browned with rounded, lightly cracked tops, about 40 minutes. Set the pans on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Remove muffins from tins then cool for about 5 more minutes before serving. Muffins will stay fresh for up to 24 hours stored in an airtight container or frozen up to 1 month.
Makes 12 muffins.
Baking is still a bit of a mystery to me. Recipes that I expect to be tricky, like the chiffon cake I made a few days ago, often come out picture perfect while others that seem easy on paper wind up being much more challenging. Crackers, it turns out, are tricky to make at home. I probably would have realized that if I’d read the comments and recipe reviews on the King Arthur Flour’s website. I guess it’s no wonder I’ve never heard anyone, not even my use-their-own-starter bread-baking friends, say “I made a batch of crackers today”. But they are fun to make and the results, although a bit inconsistent, were edible.
This time I used the called for malt powder instead of sugar and I’m not really sure if it made any difference. I was still unable to fit a whole batch in the Sun Oven in one go but did manage to get it down to two rather than three. I made one mistake, I forgot to grease the baking pans. The crackers stuck a little but I was able to get them off without too much damage. The biggest discovery I made had to do with the choice in bakeware. I used the enamalware pans pictured above and two aluminum pans. The crackers baked in the aluminum pans came out much better, in fact perfect. The others were slightly chewy.
I’d still like to figure out a way to fit all the crackers in the Sun Oven in on go and since I have a whole bag of malt powder and don’t really know what else I can do with it, I see more cracker experiments in my future.
If you’ve ever had Dr. Kracker crackers you know they’re extremely crunchy, amazingly delicious, and kind of expensive. I love them, not only because they taste so good, but at just 2 weight watchers points per cracker (and they’re big crackers) they’re a great deal point-wise. Mark and I even have a nickname for them – lembas; the elven bread that sustained Frodo and Sam on their journey to Mordor – that is, when we’re not calling them “five dollar crackers” (no, they’re not really that expensive). So you can imagine how excited I was when I opened my email inbox and found a clone recipe for them from the folks over at King Arthur Flour. I couldn’t wait to try it out; baking them in my Global Sun Oven of course.
This is the first time I’ve ever baked any kind of cracker in any kind of oven. I didn’t make any changes to the actual recipe – which you can find by clicking here – but baking them in the Sun Ovens presented a few challenges that I’m still working on. Here are a few things I learned from today’s baking session. First, about the ingredients, the recipe calls for instant yeast and something called “non-diastatic malt powder”. Instant yeast can be found in most grocery stores, I used Fleischmann’s RapidRise. There may be other brands out there but you’ll have to read the fine print to make sure it’s instant. Read more »