Hearty Bakers-yeast-free Bread

Привет!

How is everyone?

Today, I wanted to go a little out of the box. Today, I forewent bakers yeast and made bread without it. Yes, I am talking about beer bread. No, this is not Ukrainian cuisine. But, when slabs of kalbasa is put on top of it, I can pretend right?

I honestly have never heard of beer bread before…. Until a few weeks ago. I was super surprised by the outcome: it actually tasted like bread made with bakers yeast!

Some neat facts:

  • bakers yeast and brewer’s yeast come from the species of yeast, just different strains
  • yeast is a fungus
  • bakers yeast converts sugar to carbon dioxide; which produces the ‘fluffiness’ of bread
  • brewer’s yeast produces ethanol
  • brewer’s yeast is a good source of vitamins and, historically, has been used as a nutritional supplement (NOTE: I am not encouraging the use of brewer’s yeast as a nutritional supplement, I am stating this only as an interesting fact I have found)

This bread is great for anyone with a bakers-yeast intolerance or sensitivity; but who are fine with a glass of beer once in a while!

A key note in this recipe is to remember to sift. Sifting manually adds in air bubbles to the batter: the job of baker’s yeast. Since we’re not using the baker’s yeast, we have to do the work ourselves!

If you don’t have a sifter, a similar outcome can be achieved by manually spooning (with a teaspoon or tablespoon) the required amount of  flour into the mix. This allows the batter to be ‘fluffier’ and not densely packed as it would be if it was scooped out directly into a measuring cup.

Also, because we want to optimize the ‘lightness’ of the batter, be careful not to overmix it. Just mix until everything is coated; the batter will still be sticky but, don’t worry, it will come out fine!

The beer I used, and the batter.

Remember, if you would like a crunchy crust: pour the butter over top the batter. If you prefer a soft crust, mix the butter in with the rest of the ingredients.

I hope you enjoy this wonderful bread!

Yummy!

Everything is better with smoked salmon and feta!

Recipe

serving size: 1 loaf

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar*
  • 1 can (12 ounces) beer of choice, room temperature
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter**
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder.
  3. Add in sugar and salt.
  4. Add in beer a little at a time while mixing all the ingredients; be careful not to overmix!
  5. **If you would like the crust to be soft, mix the melted butter into the batter.
  6. Pour the batter into a greased or silicon loaf pan.
  7. **If you would like a crunchy crust, pour the melted butter on TOP of the batter.
  8. Pop it into the oven until the top is golden brown or a thud is heard when you knock on it. This should occur in about an hour.
  9. Allow the bread to cool for 20 minutes, or it will be gummy when you cut into it!

*different amounts of sugar may be required depending on the sweetness of the beer used.

Tell me how it turns out, and have a great day everyone!

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Mama’s Sour Cherry Pie

Welcome back everyone!

I see I have managed to catch your attention with my Selfish Shepherd’s Pie recipe, and I know you’re craving for more!

This recipe is right from my mothers noggin. She is a major, MAJOR role in my life! I would not be remotely interested in cooking if not for her. My mom, and my grandma, cook meals everyday so I have grown up in a home cooking environment!

My mom created this quick and easy pie ‘na glaz’ ; which means: by eyeballing it.
That is completely different from how I cook right now; I’m like a chemist, I usually follow recipe instructions to the letter. My mom? “A sprinkle of this, a dash of that… Maybe more of this…”. She is a GENIUS in the kitchen, I don’t understand how she does it! I hope I will be as good as her one day, but I’m still developing my flavor profiles and palate.

Anyways, on with the show!

Getting ready…

First of all, gently whisk the oil, eggs and milk. The mixture should look like the above picture. Just a bit frothy.

Next, sift your dry materials and drop it into the liquid mixture.

PLOP.

Now, and this is important, gently fold the ingredients together. DO NOT rigorously mix. Trust me, it doesn’t work out. The batter should be sticky by the end of your delicate mixing of the ingredients. When you’re done, pour about 1/2 to 2/3 of the batter into a 9.5″ square silicon or a lightly greased pan (but, silicon works best I find).

You’re almost done! Didn’t I say this was very quick? From here, place your sour cherries in a layer on top of the batter.

Look at all those glistening cherries…

Finally, pour the rest of the batter on top.

Mmmhmm….

Pop this baby into a preheated 350F oven and wait in anticipation!

This piece was dressed up with sugar for the shoot!

Now, appreciate this shot. I had to wrangle it away from my families hands to get it. Do you notice the pie is half gone? Yeah.

You know what other shot I appreciate a lot? This one:

Aren’t I pretty?

Why? Because my mom spent 1 hour taking shots of this poor piece. It was very funny coming upstairs and seeing her inches away from the pie taking pictures, making sure the lighting is correct and so on. See, she’s very into the whole blogging thing and is helping me out a lot. Thanks mom for this great picture!

Recipe

  • 6 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • sour cherries*
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Whisk the liquid ingredients very gently in a bowl.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients together and delicately fold them in with the liquid ingredients. The ingredients are mixed when batter is uniform and sticky.
  4. Pour out 1/2 to 2/3 of the batter into a 9.5″ square silicon pan and top with one layer of sour cherries.
  5. Pour the rest of the batter on top of the cherries.
  6. Place it in the middle rack of the oven.
  7. The top should be golden, and when pierced with a knife, it should come out clean. This will take about 30 minutes.

*the sour cherries we used were  in a bucket, pitted, and called “red tart cherries”. Generally, fresh cherries that are too sweet don’t turn out too well. Make sure you buy sour cherries. And don’t forget to pit them if they are fresh cherries!

I really hope you enjoy making, serving and eating this delicious pie! My mom had to make it twice last weekend because it kept being gobbled up. And it was still all gone on Monday. She joked that it should be called: “Gone-in-30-minutes pie”, and I honestly agree!

Have a great day everyone!

Yeast-Free (thin crust) Pizza Dough with Homemade Pizza Sauce

If you asked my brother what the worst part of being intolerant to yeast and dairy would be, it would be that he can’t have pizza. Especially since he had to quit it cold-turkey earlier this year. My poor 8-year-old brother…

UNTIL TODAY.

For I, his amazing sister, have discovered brother-friendly-pizza!! It features yeast-free dough and cheese-free pizza sauce. Some of you may be saying, “Geez. I knew about this since 10 years ago!”  Well sorry my lovely reader’s, but better late than never right?

So I’m going to write about the basic recipe, but also suggest on how you could change it up to put your own spin on it. The toppings are all up to you of course!

First, the pizza sauce. You’re going to combine a bunch of lovely herbs together and let them sit for at least half an hour so all the flavors can mix together. Some of the key players in the sauce are: oregano, marjoram, basil and red pepper flakes (yup, it has some kick to it for sure!).

The pizza sauce.

For the pizza dough, knead together: flour, water, salt, oil, and baking powder. As you can see, this doesn’t have much natural flavor. I added some garlic powder into the dough to give it some flavor. You can experiment on your own and add your own personal favorite herbs.

Once the dough is kneaded, use your fingers to spread it out on a silicon sheet. If you don’t have one, grease the pan and dust it with cornstarch before the dough goes on top.

The pizza dough.

Before you add the pizza sauce, put a tablespoon of oil on the dough and spread it evenly around. This will make the dough really crunchy. Top it off with your favorite topping and pop it into the oven!

The other 1/4 of the pizza ‘magically’ disappeared when my brother came into the kitchen.

My brothers face when he saw this: O.O!


I topped my pizza with raw onion and smoked bacon. It tasted really good!

What is your favorite pizza topping combination? Please leave a comment below!

Recipe

Homemade Pizza Sauce (adapted from: Exquisite Pizza Sauce, allrecipes.com)

serving: makes enough sauce for 2 pizzas

  • 1 (6 ounces) can tomato paste
  • 6 fluid ounces warm water (fill up the tomato paste can with water to measure this)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red paper flakes
  • dash of garlic powder
  • salt to taste
  1. Mix all the ingredients together and let sit for 30 minutes.

Yeast-Free (thin crust) Pizza Dough

serving: 1 pizza

  • 2 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • ~1 tablespoon oil for brushing
  1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder, water, salt and oil in a bowl and knead until dough is very soft and slightly sticky (1-2 minutes).
  3. Spread dough out on silicon sheet, or greased and cornstarch-powdered pan. Try and make the dough as thin as possible.
  4. Brush the remaining oil on top before putting on the Homemade Pizza Sauce.
  5. Place the pizza into a 425F oven for 15 minutes.
  6. If your toppings aren’t fully cooked (or the dough isn’t golden brown) after 15 minutes, lower the temp to 350F and continue baking.

NOTE: this pizza dough is meant for a thin, crunchy crusted pizza.

Selfish Shepherd’s Pie (originally: kartofelnye zrazy)

Hello everyone!

Today, I would like to introduce to you my 8 year-old brothers favorite meal!

This is a spin on a traditional kартофельные зразы (kartofelnye zrazy), a very common dish in Ukrainian cuisine. It reminded me a lot of Shepherd’s Pie, a common North American dish! Of course, I had to fuse them together. I think the essence of both dishes compliments each other very well!

First off, throw some potatoes in a pot and begin boiling them! Make sure you find one that is smiling, it’ll bring happiness to your meal! (Joking, but isn’t it cute anyways?)

Rub-a-dub-dub, potatoes in a hot tub!

While the potatoes are boiling, sauté the onions and brown the ground beef in a pan. Add in seasoning while it’s cooking to spice up the flavor! And, because I try to sneak in veggies when I can (and this is a spin on Shepherd’s Pie right?), add in some frozen peas and corn!

Browned meat with peas and corn

When your potatoes are done boiling (they are soft when pierced with a fork or spoon), start peeling them. Make sure to do it while they’re still warm! Why? Because you will need to mash them up right after!

Is it me, or is it a little chilly over here?

Ouch…

Now, you may be wondering: Why am I boiling them WITH the skin when they’re just going to be mashed later?! Here’s the answer: you can totally cook them without the skin. Or even use the mashed potatoes you just found in your fridge from a week ago. But trust me, this way, even if it’s harder, will taste better! It’s a family secret. Shh…

Now, to prepare for assembling these bad boys: pour some Italian Bread Crumbs on a plate. If you’re not feeling so fancy just ordinary bread crumbs will do. Or just flour… Been there, done that.

Feeling fancy, eh?

Now, this part is the trickiest: but don’t worry, we can totally do this. First, take a heaping tablespoon of the warm potato mash and place it in your palm (wash your hands first!). With your other hand, press down on the sphere until it forms a thin patty. Then, place a tablespoon or so of filling inside the center of the potato. Start curling your hand (the one with the meat and potatoes in it) and with your other hand help close the seam. Now, if some of the meat escapes, or you have holes because the potato was made too thin: no worries. Grab some more potato and mash and cover the hole. It’ll be our little secret.

Mmm.. Years of practice.
Kidding, you got this on the first try didn’t you? 🙂

Start up the fire! Heat a griddle, or a pan, on medium heat and add in enough oil to cover the surface area and place these pies down!

FEEL THE SIZZLE!

Once the bottom is golden brown, flip it over.

My griddle heats unevenly. Sigh.

When both sides are golden brown, put it on a paper towel lined plate! You can serve it immediately, or, when cooled, place in an air tight container and refrigerate!

Finished! Missing: sour cream. I couldn’t wrestle it away from my parent’s hands.

Finally, make sure you serve it with smetana (sour cream!).

Recipe

serving: around ~20 Selfish Shepherd’s Pie

  • 13 medium potatoes
  • 1 cup durum flour (or all purpose)
  • 2 tablespoons canola, olive or sunflower oil
  • salt to taste
  • 2 small onions, diced
  • 1 cup ground beef/pork
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup frozen corn
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • bread crumbs (or flour)
  • oil for frying
  • smetana (sour cream) (optional: only if you’re lactose intolerant)
  1. put the UNPEELED potatoes in a pot and bring to a boil, you can check when they’re done by piercing with a fork or knife: they should be soft.
  2. while the potatoes are boiling, sauté the onions for 2 minutes in oil, over medium heat. Then, add in meat.
  3. When the meat is browned (make sure to mix occasionally, so it doesn’t clump), add in the frozen peas and corn. Turn off the heat and cover with a lid.
  4. Once potatoes are done boiling, run them under cold water to make peeling easier.But make sure they’re still warm when you peel them.
  5. Add in the salt, flour and oil and mash them up!
  6. Put bread crumbs on a plate.
  7. First, take a heaping tablespoon of the warm potato mash and place it in your palm (wash your hands first!). With your other hand, press down on the sphere until it forms a thin patty. Then, place a tablespoon or so of filling inside the center of the potato. Start curling your hand (the one with the meat and potatoes in it) and with your other hand help close the seam. Now, if some of the meat escapes, or you have holes because the potato was made too thin: no worries. Grab some more potato and mash and cover the hole.
  8. Heat up the griddle or frying pan with oil and place them on. You should hear a distinct sizzle.
  9. Once the bottom is golden brown, flip them over.
  10. Remove once both sides are golden and place on a paper-toweled lined plate.
  11. Serve with sour cream and enjoy!

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that if you would like to use leftover mashed potatoes: that’s totally OKAY! Just make sure to warm it up before you use them so they’ll be easier to mold, and don’t forget to add flour as well. Follow the rest of the steps (filling and assembly) as written (but keep in mind proportion may be different) and they should turn out well.

Have a great day everyone!