Monday, January 26, 2015

Spent Grain Slider Rolls

Do you have any microbreweries near you? Chances are that you do. They seem to be sprouting up all over the place. Aside from making some amazing beer (which is a beverage that I happen to be a fan of), they are a great source for a delicious by-product: Spent grain. Spent grain is malted barley (sometimes roasted, too) that has had most of its sugars extracted for use in the fermenting process.

Any brewery will likely be more than willing to give you spent grain. You'll want to get it soon after it's done being used in the brewing process. I've read that it may begin to produce off-flavors if it sits too long. Your local brewery should be able to tell you when they are brewing so you can pick some up when it’s nice and fresh.

It's a shame to let this grain go to waste. It has tons of flavor left after it's steeped and can be used in cooking and baking. I finally got to try this for myself using a recipe from Donna's new book, Make Ahead Bread: 100 Recipes for Melt-in-Your-Mouth Fresh Bread Every Day, which you can buy on Amazon! I adapted her Honey-Potato Buns into slider rolls using spent grain from Wild Heaven Craft Beers, a local Atlanta brewery.

To store your spent grain, put a few cups in a freezer bag, squish out the air, flatten the bag and put it in the freezer. This makes it easy to store and easy to break off a chunk when you’re ready to bake. Baking the rolls in an 8 x 8 glass baking dish makes 9 perfect slider rolls, ready to use for serving mini hamburgers or your favorite sandwich, with a beer of course!

Spent Grain Slider Rolls
by Jennifer
Adapted from Honey-Potato Buns in Donna Currie’s book Make Ahead Bread: 100 Recipes for Melt-in-Your-Mouth Fresh Bread Every Day

2 ounces (1/2 cup loosely packed) spent grain
4 3/4 ounces (1 cup plus 1 1/2 Tablespoons) bread flour
2 Tablespoons potato flakes
2 Tablespoons dry milk
1/4 cup semolina flour
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup water, room temperature
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg
1 teaspoon water

The day before you want to bake the bread, process the two ounces of thawed spent grain in a food processor until finely ground and set aside. Mix the next 6 ingredients (flour through the salt) in a medium bowl. Add the processed grain to the dry ingredients and toss to combine. Place the flour mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer. With the paddle attachment, stir in the water on low speed. Depending on the water content of your spent grain, you may need to add additional water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the dough comes together. Switch out the dough hook for the paddle and knead on medium speed for 4 minutes. Add the butter and knead until fully incorporated into dough, about 2 more minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let stand 45 minutes.

Spray an 8 x 8 glass pan with non-stick cooking spray. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 9 equal portions. Roll each into a ball and lay the balls in three rows of three, evenly spaced. Cover pan with plastic wrap and put pan into refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours.

When ready to bake, remove pan from the refrigerator and heat the oven to 350°F for one hour. Whisk egg with one teaspoon water and brush mixture over the tops of the dough balls. Bake rolls for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool for 5 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Candied Jalapeno Pineapple Cream Cheese Buns

 Let me begin by saying that I am NOT a "Baker". I Love to get into the kitchen, mess things up, and come out with a fantabulous meal. But baking kind of scares me. It's so precise, almost an art form. And I'm not really good at it. I like to put my own spin on things, not follow a recipe word-for-word... My sweet friend and co-cook, Donna Currie, however, is a Master Baker- dare I say that she's the Bread Queen! Truly, she is! She's so awesome that she even has her own cookbook that was recently released, "Make Ahead Breads". Please check it out and if you like what you see, go ahead and order it! This book Rocks!

Let me begin by saying that we (the most awesome online cooking group ever, 37 Cooks) were given a small preview of Donna's book. We were asked to choose ONE Sneak Peek recipe of hers and to play around and have some fun. I Loved this idea. So I stepped outside of my comfort zone, big time... I somehow converted "Blueberry and Cream Cheese Buns with Lemon Zest" (Donna's recipe) into "Candied Jalapeño and Pineapple- Cream Cheese Buns with a Pineapple Glaze and Bacon". And they were Wonderful. I did all of the prep work on a rainy Saturday night while watching a football game. Woke up on Sunday (we had a couple of friends stay over that night), pulled these out of the fridge, turned on the oven, and voilà! Instant Brunch. Loved that!

But what I loved most about this recipe was the fact that it was very easy and also proved to be so very versatile. As I said, I don't follow directions as I should, and I like to substitute ingredients with "whatever I have on hand". This method worked so well with this bread! And I loved the "make- ahead" factor. I would actually bake a lot more bread if I knew that I could prep it the day before and simply cook it off when I needed it. So, again, please check out the book, "Make Ahead Breads". It would make a great gift for any baker, and is an awesome addition to any cook's collection!

Candied Jalapeno Pineapple Cream Cheese Buns with a Pineapple Glaze and Bacon
By Chris H.
Adapted from Blueberry and Cream Cheese Buns with Lemon Zest, found in the book,  Make Ahead Bread:100 Recipes for Melt-in-Your-Mouth Fresh Bread Every Day by Donna Currie

1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon candied jalapeños, chopped and drained
1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon crushed pineapple, drained
2 egg whites
1 1/4 cup pineapple juice
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 small packet (approximately 2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
4 Tablespoons butter, warmed
1/4 cup water, room temperature
2 Tablespoons sugar
8 ounces cream cheese (I used Neufchâtel), softened
1 Tablespoon pineapple juice
Splash of lemon juice

1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons pineapple juice
1/4- 1/2 cup cooked, crumbled bacon (to taste)

Place the candied jalapeños and crushed pineapple into a piece of cheesecloth or a strainer of any sort and allow the juices to drain for at least 2-3 hours, up to overnight. These need to be as dry (liquid-free) as possible.

Combine the two egg whites with enough pineapple juice to make 1 1/4 cup, total. Place the egg and juice mixture, bread flour, brown sugar, yeast, potato flakes, dry milk, vanilla, salt, butter, and water into a stand mixer and mix (using a dough hook) until all ingredients are incorporated and the dough holds together well. You may need to add a bit more water, but do so in small amounts, as the dough should not be too wet. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow it to rise for 1-2 hours, until it has almost doubled.

While dough is rising, combine the sugar, cream (Neufchâtel) cheese, 1 Tablespoon of pineapple juice, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Mix well (a fork will work), as it will be lumpy at first but will eventually reach a smooth consistency. Oil or grease a 9x13x 2" baking dish and set aside (I used an olive oil spray, but any cooking spray would work).

When dough has risen, flour your work surface and roll out your dough. You want to make a rectangular shape, about 12x16" in size. I trimmed one long side and one short side, so that when the buns are rolled and cut, they are "pretty" on top... Once dough is rolled, spread (as evenly as possible) with the cream cheese mixture. Leave about an inch of dough (on the long, cut side) uncovered by the cheese. Sprinkle the jalapeño and crushed pineapple over the cream cheese layer.

Beginning with the long, uncut side of the dough, gently roll the dough, jelly roll style, toward the cut (uncovered) end. When you are finished rolling, your dough should look like a log and is ready to be sliced. Starting at the rougher end of the log, gently slice into 12 even sized "disks" and place in the oiled baking pan. The buns will not touch one another, but that is okay. Cover the entire pan with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight (or up to 24 hours).

The next day (or when ready to bake the buns), remove the baking dish from the refrigerator and allow to sit out for about 30 minutes (up to an hour is okay). Preheat your oven to 350, remove the plastic wrap from the top, and bake for 40-60 minutes. Begin checking them at the 30-40 minute mark, as ovens do vary. The original recipe called for approximately 40 minutes of cooking time, but mine took about 55 minutes to cook in the center. While the buns are cooking, make your glaze.

Simply combine the 1 cup of powdered sugar with the 2 Tablespoons of pineapple juice and whisk until no lumps remain. Set aside. Also prepare your crumbled bacon if you have not done so yet. When buns are cooked, remove from oven and drizzle half of the glaze evenly over the top of the entire pan. Sprinkle the crumbled bacon over the glaze, and, if desired, again drizzle the second half of the glaze over the bacon (or use all of the glaze, then finish with the bacon, if you prefer). Allow buns to cool for 10-15 minutes, then remove from pan and serve warm.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Acorn Squash-Raisin Monkey Bread

Ever wonder what you're supposed to do with leftover squash or raisins? Well, thanks to Donna, here's a fantastic idea!

Don't know about you, but I always have raisins sitting in my pantry, getting rock hard. I also make acorn squash a lot and always seem to have some leftover since my 5 year old eats like a bird.

I've never been great at making bread. It usually comes out hard, or flat, or hard AND flat. But this bread is idiot-proof. If you're a first-timer (like myself) this is a great recipe to get started with. It's an easy-pleaser and is good to serve whenever. I served this recipe initially as a snack bread on the weekend. But, I also changed it up a bit the second round and used a large diced Gala apple instead of the squash and made it a breakfast delight. I sent it off with my husband to work and needless to say, it was gone in minutes.

This is a fun and creative recipe to do with the kids. I used a bundt pan, but you can use any round, square baking pan you like.

Acorn Squash-Raisin Monkey Bread
by Holly
Adapted from Sweet Potato Monkey Bread from the book Make Ahead Bread: 100 Recipes for Melt-in-Your-Mouth Fresh Bread Every Day by Donna Currie

For the dough:
1/2 cup cooked acorn squash, cooled
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup room temperature water
3 cups bread flour
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cups raisins

For the coating:
3 Tablespoons almond meal
3 Tablespoons vanilla sugar*
3 graham crackers, crushed
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

In an upright mixer, combine all dough ingredients with a dough hook. Mix on medium-low until dough is stretchy, about 5 minutes.

Place dough in a large bowl greased with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in warm area and let rise until doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, blend together the coating ingredients with a fork.

Coat a bundt pan with cooking spray. Separate dough into balls, about 18-24. They don't have to be even. Roll balls in the coating and drop into pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator 12-24 hours.

Remove the pan from the refrigerator, heat oven to 325°F. Place pan in heated oven, on middle rack. Cook bread about 45-50 minutes. Remove pan from the oven, and let cool a few minutes. Remove the bread and let cool another 15-20 minutes on a baking rack.

Serve plain or with butter.

*Vanilla sugar, can be bought at the grocery store. Or to simply make your own, place a vanilla bean in a mason jar, fill with sugar, cap, let sit at least 24 hours to absorb the bean flavor.

Other links to follow Donna Currie:

Make Ahead Bread: 100 Recipes for Melt-in-Your-Mouth Fresh Bread Every Day

Twitter: and
Blogs are: Cookistry and

*Please also "like" Taunton Press, the publisher's Facebook page: Taunton Books

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Hatch Chile and Cheddar Bread – Takes Your Sandwich to the Next Level

This challenge was very exciting because I got a sneak look at Donna Currie's cookbook, Make Ahead Bread, which will be released on November 4, 2014. Donna is a member of 37 Cooks, so it was fun to change up one of her recipes in her new book. I pre-ordered my copy months ago and I am anxiously awaiting its arrival. You, too, can order Make Ahead Bread: 100 Recipes for Melt-in-Your-Mouth Fresh Bread Every Day, available on Amazon. This would make a great gift for anyone who loves to bake, so you need at least two! There was substance to the texture of this bread. It was slightly chewy; it made me wish I had sandwich makings. Instead, Mark and I had to make do with two buttered slices each! My dough was so “alive” it came out of the pan in the refrigerator so be sure and use the correct size loaf pan. I could have trimmed the dough on the side, but I opted not to. It’s homemade and it has character!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Cheese Ball Rolls

We were all so pleased to be invited by Donna Currie's publisher to cook from ten of her incredible recipes from her new book, Make Ahead Bread: 100 Recipes for Melt-in-Your-Mouth Fresh Bread Every Day. I was floored by the beauty of the preview we received of her book. The photography is so gorgeous, I wanted to make and eat every recipe!

The best part of this book, other than the fact that all of the recipes turn out perfect every time, other than the fact that Donna is my friend and I love her and her husband Bob as if they were my own family, other than the pretty pictures, other than there are 100 bread recipes in this book is this: She breaks the recipes down so part of what you do is prep one day and then you bake the next day. This is key for me because I see bread recipes and I think wow, this recipe is too overwhelming with the instruction and the time involved, forget it. Yet, here I am having made these amazing rolls. I feel like a super star!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Individual Pizza Pot Pies Featuring Whole Wheat and Parmesan Pizza Crust

I have a huge phobia when it comes to working with dough and yeast. I just have had a very difficult time in getting it to work right for me. I know one of the big mistakes I have made is over-working the dough. I play with it too much!! The Donna Currie Make Ahead Bread Cookbook Challenge had me sweating bullets because of my past history. I wanted to be a trooper and try something new. So, I decided to make her Whole Wheat and Parmesan Pizza Crust.