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Honey Quinoa Bread

17 Mar

The worst thing about being unemployed are those days you realize you haven’t left the house, and the only people you’ve talked to all day were your kitchen appliances. I definitely talk to inanimate objects waaaay more often since I lost my job. In fact, as I sat down to write this post, I chastised my computer’s power cord for being difficult and not staying plugged in.

But this week has been a really good week. I’ve managed to get out and about every single day. On Monday I got to fill in for a volunteer who had to cancel last minute at Martha’s Table, helping to pass out soup and sandwiches from the back of a van as part of their mobile soup kitchen, McKenna’s Wagon. It’s one of my favorite actitivies, all the guys that come out to get free food are very friendly and love to chat us up, and they always help us unload and load the tables and water jugs from the van.

Tuesday night, a friend and I went to see Rocky Votolato and Matt Pond in concert. It was just a fantastic show. The highlights were when Matt Pond and crew came out to play White Daisy Passing with Rocky, and then Rocky came out during Matt’s set to play New Hampshire with them (my favorite Matt Pond song). After the show, we ended up going out for drinks with the band, so now I can officially say I’ve taken a tequila shot with Matt Pond. (I hate tequlia, but I love Matt Pond, so it evens out, I guess).

Last night I had volunteer orientation with 826DC, so now I can start volunteering with them too. I’m very excited about it. We’re actually having a bake sale this Sunday (tentatively) at Eastern Market, so if you’re in DC, stop by! I’m making peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, and maybe a few other things, depending on how much time I have on Saturday to bake. Most of the volunteer work will be tutoring kids after school and helping out at the writing workshops they host, but I have to get TB tested and background checked first.

And today is St. Patty’s Day, so I guess I’ll be drinking green beer later. Gross.

But anyway, in the midst of my busy week, I had a chance to make this bread, and it is just the most fantastic bread I’ve ever had. Quinoa just kills me every time. It’s so delicious. There is so much flavor here, so nutty, so fulfilling.

Let’s get a close up:

Mmmm so good.

There’s a lot to love in this bread, you’ve got your quinoa, your oatmeal, your whole wheat flour, and a bit of honey to sweeten things up.

I decided to use red quinoa, just to give the bread a fun color, but white would work just as well.

I thought I was home alone when I was making my bread, but then my roommate walked into the kitchen while I was kneading and making a lot of odd grunting noises. But I think she forgave me once the whole house smelled like fresh baked bread.

I also had a chat with this bread about how it was doing such a beautiful job of rising. Really, it was a champ.

I was expecting a denser bread, since there is so much whole grain going on here, but it was really not dense at all. Just absolute perfection.

Honey Quinoa Bread
Adapted from Marian Blazes

Makes 1 9×5 loaf

1/2 cup raw quinoa
1 cups water
¼ cup oatmeal
¼ cup water
¼ cup milk
1 teaspoons yeast
6 tbsp warm water
2 ½ tbsp honey
2 tbsp vegetable oil
¼ cup milk
1 ¼ – 1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoons salt (to taste)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour

Cook the quinoa in 1 cup of water for 10 to 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed. While the quinoa cooks, cook the oatmeal in the ¼ cup water and ¼ cup milk until liquid is absorbed. Let both cool.

Place 6 tbsp warm water in a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer) and sprinkle yeast over the water. Let rest 5 minutes. Stir honey, oil, and milk into the yeast mixture with a wooden spoon (or with dough hook on low speed).

Add 1/2 cup of the bread flour and the salt and stir well. Add the cooked quinoa and oatmeal and stir.

Add all of the whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup more of the bread flour and stir. When the dough starts to get stiff, turn out onto floured surface and begin to knead. (If using a standing mixer, continue to knead with dough hook). Keep adding flour and kneading until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes with a mixer, or 10 to 15 minutes by hand. Dough should feel slightly sticky but should not be wet and slack. You should be able to form it into a ball and it should hold its shape.

Lightly oil a large bowl with vegetable oil and place bread in the bowl, turning to coat lightly with the oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap.

Let bread dough rise in a warm spot until double in size, about 2 hours.

Oil a 9×5 loaf pan. Punch down dough and shape into a ball. Pat/flatten into an oval shape about the length of the bread pan. Fold long sides in and tuck them underneath as you place the bread into the pan, so that the top surface of the bread is smooth and without seams.

Let rise in warm place until bread has almost doubled in size, 45 minutes to an hour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

When oven is hot, place bread in center of oven. Throw a handful of ice cubes into bottom of oven to create steam. Bake for 20 minutes. Cover bread loosely with foil if the top is getting too brown and bake 5-10 minutes more. Bread should sound hollow when tapped.

Let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Turn out onto wire rack and let cool completely.


Milk and Honey Bread

4 Mar

I went speed dating this week. I learned a few things.

1. 90% of guys that go to speed dating work in IT.

2. Spending an hour having a series of 5 minutes conversations is surprisingly exhausting.

3. There is going to be one guy who is a total jerk. This one accused me of being nervous and/or boring and then made a creepy misogynistic comment to me. I wasn’t amused. I’m also 99% certain he didn’t actually fit into the age range set for the event.

4. Attractive and normal guys do actually go to speed dating! I met quite a few of them.

5. But there will also be one guy who seems to be like Raj from the Big Bang Theory, in that he seems unable to speak when around women. Only this guy has alcohol and he STILL isn’t talking. It makes the 5 minutes a little awkward.

But I had a lot of fun. There was something nice about being in a room with a bunch of guys you already knew were interested in chatting and potentially going out on dates. Lessens the pressures about rejection and all that.

And you know, dating is a lot like making bread. You have to get things juuuust right or you might kill your chances (or your yeast). But when it does work out, you are rewarded with delicious smelling bread (or boyfriend…).

Okay, that was a lame segue. Let’s move on.

This weekend, make some bread. I ate most of this loaf smeared with butter and honey, but it would also make extra yummy sandwiches, or works as just a nice slice of bread with dinner.

I have a dough hook, but sometimes I just like to do things the hard way, so I kneaded this loaf by hand. It was very satisfying, and I counted it as my arm workout for the day.

Milk and Honey Bread
Adapted from Twinks over at Tasty Kitchen

Makes 1 loaf

1 Tbsp butter
1 ¼ cup milk
1 Tbsp honey
3 cups bread flour (*see note below)
1 tsp active dry yeast
¾ tsp salt

*I don’t ever buy bread flour. Instead, I just always buy all-purpose flour, but I have a small jar of gluten flour in the pantry as well. To make bread flour, you just replace 1 Tbsp in every cup of all-purpose flour with 1 Tbsp of gluten flour.
So for this recipe, you would measure out 3 cups of all-purpose flour into a bowl. Now put 3 Tbsp of that flour back in the bin, and add 3 Tbsp of gluten flour to your bowl. Mix it together and you have bread flour!

In a small sauce pan, heat milk, honey and butter until butter has melted, stirring to combine. Set aside and let cool until the liquid feels neither hot nor cold to the touch.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine 2 cups of flour and salt. Once the milk has cooled enough, sprinkle yeast over the liquid and let sit for a few minutes, then stir gently.

Add milk mixture to the flour, and using an electric mixer, or by hand if you are feeling particularly strong today, mix until smooth.

If you are mixing by hand, work in the remaining cup of flour and then turn dough out onto a floured surface to knead for 10 minutes. If you are using an electric mixer that has a dough hook, add ½ cup of remaining flour, mix for a few minutes, and then switch over to the dough hook and add the remaining ½ cup of flour. Knead with hook for 8-10 minutes on low speed.

Place dough in an oiled bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a draft-free until doubled in size, about 1 hour to 1 ½ hours.

Now take out your aggression on that dough and punch out the air. Form dough into a loaf shape and place in a greased 9×5 loaf pan. Allow the dough to rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Mom’s Buttermilk Biscuits

12 Jan

Are you ready? It’s my first recipe post here in the Single Girl’s Kitchen. I want it to be special. We have so much to learn about each other still. I’m a little nervous…it’s like a first date.

So…where did you grow up?  What did you study in college?

Okay, let’s skip the awkward line of questioning and get to the biscuits. I think “get to the biscuits” would make an excellent new slang phrase, it can take the place of “cut to the chase.”

“Hey, buddy, how about you stop wasting my time and just get to the biscuits?”

Right. Biscuits. Buttermilk.

These biscuits are one of the first recipes I remember getting to help my mom with when I was growing up, I’d get to mix together the dry ingredients, and my mom would let me use my fingers to mix in the butter. To this day, I still use my hands when mixing in butter in this recipe, in pie crusts, etc. Pastry cutters are overrated. The trick is just to be quick and not overwork it. You don’t want the butter to start melting. It probably helps that my hands are eternally freezing. If you have clammy hands, you might just want to get that pastry cutter out. Luckily, I only get clammy hands on dates and during job interviews. And usually I’m not making biscuits during job interviews. Usually.

And let’s just get this out of the way now: I didn’t use buttermilk when I made these. I was going to buy buttermilk to make buttermilk chocolate chip pancakes for this guy for a fun breakfast for dinner thing…but turns out he wasn’t interested. In pancakes, or in me.

So I didn’t buy buttermilk. But when I think I’m going to buy buttermilk, I plan to make all my buttermilk recipes that week, so even before my pancake rejection, I had already started thinking about these biscuits. And once these biscuits are in your head, they do not want to leave.

Luckily, the lovely Joy the Baker posted a few tips on turning regular milk into a buttermilk substitute. My recipe includes the technique I used, and it turned out fabulously. But if you don’t have fresh lemon juice on hand, check out her other tips.

I should also confess that normally, I don’t even have regular milk around the house. I’m a weirdo and I don’t drink milk. It all stems from my mom being convinced I was lactose intolerant as a kid. I wasn’t, but it was too late for me and milk to get over our differences. I also don’t keep cereal in the apartment, because we had this nasty pantry moth infestation over the summer, and I’ve been terrified of keeping any wheat products around that aren’t in air tight containers. Luckily, I decided to make some chocolate pudding the other day, so I had leftover whole milk that was sitting sad and lonely in the fridge, just waiting to be turned into buttermilk for these biscuits.

Sorry. I think I might be over-sharing for our first date. Pantry moths, and potential lactose intolerance, and my tendency to get handsy with biscuit dough…at least I haven’t started telling you about all my ex’s yet.

Before that happens, let’s get to the recipe. I’ve scaled this one down so that it makes a neat 3 biscuits. Perfect if you want to have two alongside dinner, and wrap the other one up for breakfast tomorrow! I’m also including the recipe that makes a half dozen, in case you have need for that and would rather not do the math.


For 3 biscuits

¾ cup plus 2 tbls all purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp sugar
¼ tsp baking soda
2 ½ tbls cold butter
1/3 cup buttermilk (to make, add 1/3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice to 1/3 cup whole milk, stir and let sit for 2 minutes)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Sift together dry ingredients.

Using fingers or pastry cutter, cut in cold butter.

Add the buttermilk gradually and mix gently, just until blended. Do not overmix. You may not need the full 1/3 cup, add until dough comes together, but isn’t overly sticky.

Now you have two options: The simple way is to just drop biscuits onto a greased cookie sheet. You can also pat out dough on a cutting board to about 1 inch thickness and cut with round biscuit/cookie cutters and place on greased cookie sheet. Dropping them makes more rustic looking biscuits, using a cookie cutter will give you more uniform, professional looking biscuits. Both will taste delicious.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until they start to turn lightly golden brown.

Add a generous dollop of apple butter and place in mouth.

For 6 biscuits

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp baking soda
5 tbls cold butter
2/3 cup buttermilk