I’ve been inspired lately by my bread making expertise. Ok, not really. But I have been really happy with how great my last few loaves have turned out. I make the dough in my bread machine, then roll it out, shape it, and let it rise again. Finally, into the oven and done! I’ve proven to myself too many times before that I should not make dough by hand. I let the bread machine do it. Like this jalapeno cheese bread. Not too spicy, and not too cheesy, but just right and the perfect texture for sandwiches.
I think you could substitute just about anything for the jalapenos and the cheese. Chopped roasted poblanos and pepper jack cheese would make for a great combination. As would diced green chiles (drained very well first) and Monterey jack cheese. The options are pretty much endless. Just don’t use any ingredients that are extremely moist.
This is my go-to bread dough recipe for the bread machine. No way am I enough of a baker to make a dough from scratch without a bread machine. I could never make something as good as this dough. It makes for the perfect po boy. The bread gets a nice crunchy, but thin, exterior. The insides are light, soft and airy. I’ve made this dough at least 30 times and every time it has come out great. Well, or it did after I got the hang of rolling it into a nice loaf shape. I also learned that cutting the slits isn’t just for making it pretty, the bread seems to keep a better shape. To get the slits just right you need to use a very, very sharp knife. You don’t want to manhandle the dough cutting it. You want the knife to go through it effortlessly.
3 cups (plus a little more, if needed) bread flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast
For the glaze
1 egg white
1 teaspoon water
Place ingredients into your bread machine in the order listed.
Process on the dough settings. After 5-10 minutes check the consistency of the dough. It should be sticky but not stick to the sides. If it is too dry add water, but in 1/2 teaspoon increments. If it is too wet add more flour 1 teaspoon at at time.
When the dough cycle is completed remove the dough to a lightly floured surface.
Roll the dough out into a rectangle that is approximately 16" wide and 12" deep.
Roll up the dough along the long edge.
Pinch the seam and ends closed and place onto a lightly greased baking sheet, seam-side down.
Cover with a cheesecloth and place into a warm place to rise until doubled, about an hour.
After about 30 minutes of rising preheat your oven to 425 F.
Uncover the bread and, using a very sharp knife, make a few 1/2" deep slits along the top of the dough, about 2" apart.
Whisk together the glaze ingredients and brush over the top of the dough.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Reduce the temperature to 350 F and bake another 5-10 minutes or until golden brown.
Bread, glorious bread! You may not be excited but any time I get homemade bread to turn out as great as this I am one happy guy! It probably (ok, not probably) helped a lot that the dough for this garlic herb pepperoni bread was made in a bread machine making it about as foolproof as you can get. I need foolproof when it comes to bread. And oh, the aroma as the dough came together and then later baked! The entire house smelled soooooo good! The right combination of Italian flavors, garlic herb pepperoni bread also has the perfect texture, color, crust, flavor… you name it. I thought about adding more chopped pepperoni, but I think I was right in not doing that. You want every bite to be filled with all of the flavors and not over-powered by just one.
It had been soooooo long since I had French toast. Anita suggested that I make some and I quickly put the things I needed on my grocery list. I started with homemade brioche bread, but you can use a loaf from the store or substitute another type of bread, such as challah. You’ll get the best results with day-old or slightly stale bread. My homemade brioche is nice and thick, absorbing loads of the egg batter, which is the key to a perfect French toast. You don’t just want a light coating on the outside, you want it all the way through, in each and every bite.
This brioche French toast checked off every box on my list of things that make for great French toast. A slightly crunchy crusty edge: check. Eggy creamy soft insides: check. Able to absorb tons of real Maple syrup: check and check again.
Your favorite toppings (real maple syrup, powdered sugar, whipped cream, fruits, etc)
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Add half-and-half, eggs, honey and salt to a pie pan. Whisk with a fork.
Working in batches, place bread in the egg mixture and let soak on each side for 30 seconds. Transfer to a wire rack over a sheet pan.
Working in batches, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet. Add 2 bread slices to the skillet and cook until golden brown, 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook another 2-3 minutes. Remove to another wire rack over a sheet pan.
Transfer pan of bread to the oven and bake 5 minutes.
I’ve always wanted to make my own biscuits from scratch. I finally stepped up to the challenge after watching Trisha Yearwood make these black pepper biscuits on her TV show. I figured heck, I can do that. So I did. And I was so happy that I did. These black pepper biscuits are ‘meaty’. They are not your light and fluffy little light clouds of dough. They hold up to anything and they taste absolutely divine. Buttermilk and butter… oh pinch me.
The key to these black pepper biscuits is the butter. Make absolutely sure you cut the butter into small pieces. Big ones will not do. I cut the 6 tablespoon chunk into teaspoon pats first, then I cut each pat into 9 small pieces. That worked perfectly for me. If you leave the butter too big your biscuits might just fall apart. At the least you’ll have a hard time forming them into biscuits to start with. So, smaller is better! And when they come out of the oven all hot and yummy, drizzle them with my black pepper honey.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into very small pieces, keep in freezer until ready to use
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Finely ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 450 F.
Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda into a large bowl.
Add the butter cubes. Break up any pieces that stick together. Use your fingers to combine the butter with the flour mixture.
Add the buttermilk and stir until a dough forms.
Lightly pack the dough with your hands and place onto a lightly floured surface. Use the palms of your hands to flatten out into a 1" thick shape.
Use a 2 1/2" biscuit cutter to cut the dough into rounds. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with a silicon mat or parchment paper. Use any remaining dough scraps by pressing them back together with your hands and cutting more biscuits.
Brush the tops of the biscuits with the heavy cream and sprinkle generously with the black pepper.
Bake until starting to turn golden brown, 10-12 minutes.
Going to the salad bar at Ruby Tuesday is a treat for us. Luckily, there’s a Ruby Tuesday right down the street from our house. They always keep the salad bar super-duper cold and super-duper stocked. Never have I gone up with my plate and said “oh no! there’s only one pea left!” (I love peas on a salad). When I get to the end of the salad bar, I find my two favorite things: Ranch dressing and pumpernickel croutons. Now, there’s an art and an order to putting them on your salad, mind you. You do NOT put the dressing on first. I used to think you had to to keep the croutons from sliding off. No, the croutons go first, and lots of them. Make sure you kinda wedge them in any nooks and crannies so they don’t fall off. Then drizzle with the dressing, getting half of the croutons nice and Ranchy while leaving the rest naked. Trust me on this. Do it next time you hit up the Ruby Tuesday salad bar. I used a fresh loaf of pumpernickel bread when I made copycat Ruby Tuesday croutons. Fresh bread takes longer to bake but I think it makes for a better duplicate of the original: a little crunch but mostly soft and tender crouton. You do not want a hard, dry crouton that bursts into a billion pieces when you bite into it. If you do use older or stale bread, keep an eye on them while baking because they won’t take as long.
Only 1 in every 5 of my attempts to bake from scratch comes out successful. That’s up from 1 out of 6 a few years ago, but still not anything to brag about. So, the more I can use my bread machine, the better. And it’s even better when what I make comes out fantastic, like these southern biscuits. They have a great buttery flavor, light texture and smell absolutely divine. Now, they aren’t super light and flaky like dough you’d make by hand (if you weren’t me that is) but they are a great substitute for those biscuits you get in a tube, that’s for sure! You can substitute maple syrup for the honey and end up with the perfect biscuit for a sausage breakfast sandwich. And of course, bread machine southern biscuits are perfect for the best thing ever made, deep fried biscuits. Oh yes!
Slather these bad boys with some bacon jam and you’ll be in for a real treat!
Until 15 minutes ago, our gotta-have-it-garlic bread was our favorite garlic bread. This chipotle garlic cheese bread is similar in that, boy, is it ever packed with flavor, but oh does it ever bring the cheese. It reminds me of the garlic cheese bread Pizza Hut used to have on the menu but with ten times the flavor and cheese (which reminds me… be sure to check out my copycat of Pizza Hut’s pan pizza). It’s seriously over the top, but really, when you make garlic cheese bread are you thinking ‘healthy’? It’s an indulgence. And then some. You can make this chipotle garlic cheese bread ahead of time. Just wrap it in foil (loosely, so that the cheese doesn’t stick to the foil) and keep it in the fridge. When you’re ready to reheat it just toss it in a 350 F oven for 10-15 minutes until hot. Let it cool slightly before slicing or the ooey gooey cheese will run all over the place.