Grandma’s Cinnamon Bread

February 10, 2013

Cinnamon Raisin Bread from My Pantry ShelfMy first grade son was recently asked to write up a favorite family recipe to share with his class.  The minute I heard this my mind began scanning the many recipes that he might deem worthy.  While selecting just one recipe seemed daunting to me, he quite simply stated, “I will share the recipe for Grandma’s Cinnamon Bread.” The special bread that my mom makes for him when he stays at her home.

Spreading CinnamonThis made me think, it is the children of the family that ultimately decide which recipes will live on. Perhaps this is because in childhood every moment seems larger than life.  The meals we eat, the people who prepare them for us, the experiences we have in our youth become the foundation of our life.  In truth, if I think of my own favorite family recipes, they are the ones fell in love with as a child, the Swedish Cardamom Bread at our holiday table,  my grandmother’s Royal Danish Soup, or my mother’s spaghetti sauce that I could never get enough of.  Now matter how much I might enjoy a new recipe that I develop or come across as an adult, they never hold the same place in my heart as those I loved as a child.  And also, without the enthusiastic blessing of my children, the recipe never will become a new family favorite.

Roll the cinnamon dough

Grandma’s Cinnamon Raisin Bread is a not too sweet bread with a perfect cinnamon spiral through the center.  It is delicious on its own, but my favorite way to eat it is toasted with butter.  It also makes a special French Toast.  The recipe makes two loaves.  The bread freezes well.  If you slice the bread first, it is easy to grab a slice to toast for an easy breakfast.

So, what is your favorite family recipe?  Tell us in the comments below and leave a link if there is one!  This post was submitted to Yeastspotting.

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Thanksgiving Menu Guide

November 15, 2012

With Halloween behind us, we are officially hurtling towards the Thanksgiving.  For me that means it is time to get serious about meal planning.  While Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy time-honored dishes, each year I like to try something new as well.  Here a a collection of special occasion-worthy recipes from My Pantry Shelf that my family loves.  What is your favorite dish to make for Thanksgiving?  Tell us in the comments below.  Feel free to add a link to your recipes.

appetizers

Fuyu Persimmon Chutney

Fresh Herb Chevre

sides and salads

Acorn Squash Rings with Apple Glaze

Brussels Sprouts with Garlicky Bread Crumbs

Chipotle Black Bean and Butternut Squash Salad

Forbidden Rice and Green Onion Hearth Bread

Orange Quinoa with Almonds, Olives, and Feta

Roasted Beet and Hazelnut Salad with Feta

Shaved Brussels Sprout Slaw

Sweet Potato and Bacon Gratin

Stuffed Winter Squash with Rice and Sausage

dessert

Pumpkin Coconut Pudding

drinks

Cranberry Daiquiris

brunch

Bacon Breakfast Strata

Buckwheat Blueberry Pancakes

Easy Cranberry Bread

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Rye Bread (redeemed)

March 15, 2012

Last year in preparation for St. Patrick’s Day, I corned my first beef brisket.  It was a smashing success, but the loaf of rye I made to sandwich the leftovers failed miserably.  It took an entire year to return to this challenge, but when Caroline at Grow It , Cook It, Can It suggested baking bread for Cook It, 2012, I knew this was the loaf for me.  So this year, with the beef corning in the fridge, I tried a new recipe for rye bread that turned out just as I hoped.

After scouring my many cookbooks, I settled on this recipe from the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook. This bread is moist and chewy with a pronounced flavor of rye and caraway.   It includes two types of flour in perfect proportion to achieve the signature flavor of the rye and all purpose flour to supply the required gluten and keep it light. My family loved these loaves so much that they were devoured before I had a chance to stick one in the freezer for this upcoming weekend.  This weekend, when I bake another batch, I will roll the dough into shorter loaves to make larger slices more appropriate for sandwiches.  I also plan to toss in a cup of minced onion to flavor the bread.

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Last weekend I was fortunate enough to gather for a potluck with a fantastic group of fellow food lovers.  We are all part of Food52, a fabulous online community of inspired home cooks and knew each virtually through viewing, cooking, and commenting on each other’s recipes.  The gathering celebrated  the publication of the first Food52 cookbook, in which many of the party-goers had their own amazing recipes published.  The cookbook is beautiful and I can not wait to cook my way through it!

Not surprisingly, we all had a lot in common, most notably our love of good food.  The table was brimming with amazing dishes, most of them made from recipes found on Food52. It was difficult to decide what to bring, but I opted for fresh baked bread.

Forbidden Rice and Green Onion Hearth Bread is based on a recipe from Montana Culinary Students on Food52.  The contrast in texture and color that the black rice brings the bread drew me in.  Wild rice works as well, but Forbidden Rice sounds irresistibly tempting!  The onion adds a deep savory quality and works beautifully with the aromatic rosemary.  A hint of lemon zest adds a pleasant brightness to this hearty loaf. This bread will definitely become a regular in my baking rotation.  I imagine that it would make great croutons as well, if you are able to resist the bread while fresh.  This bread would also be a tremendous addition to the Thanksgiving table!

Check out what some of the fabulous cooks I met are doing on their own sites!  TasteFood, Still Simmering, The Year in Food, The Wimpy Vegetarian, The Beet Goes On, My Kitchen Solo.

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Sesame Pita Bread

October 13, 2011

There is no substitute for home baked bread.  When baking at home we can experience each magical step of the baking process.  The bubbling of the yeast as it proofs and the rapid transformation of dry flour, salt, and water into an elastic mass that rises with life.  We shape the bread into loaves or braids or flatbreads (or the strange masses my kids insist on baking).  Once baked, the breads’ fragrant steam is intoxicating.  These are the secrets of the home baker.  None of these special experiences can be found in a bag of bread on a market shelf.

Regretfully, my life is too full to bake all of our bread at home.  While there are a few bakeries that offer excellent breads in our area, I have yet to find a great source for pita breads.  Since pita bread is so thin, it becomes stale very quickly.  Most of the doughs are treated with conditioners to extend their shelf life, but in the process destroy the quality of the bread.  This recipe, adapted from Baking with Julia, is a perfect solution to this problem.

Sesame Pita Bread eliminates the need to settle for store-bought pitas.  The dough is made in advance and stored in the refrigerator.  Cut off pieces, shape, and quickly bake for fresh bread throughout the week.  The pita is fragrant and flavorful.  It yields just the right amount of chewy resistance when you bite into a piece.  The sesame seeds add just a hint of flavor and texture to this otherwise plain dough.  Serve the pitas on the side of any saucy dish, brush the tops with garlic butter a different twist.  Slice them in half and fill with lamb,  hummus and veggies, or the classic falafel.  I am still searching for a fantastic falafel recipe.  Please share a link below if you have one.

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