Vegetarian Fajita Tacos

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These are using my Whole Wheat Protein Tortillas I posted earlier.  I was originally not going to post this because I felt like it was just vegetables in a tortilla, but Justin said people like recipes.  I guess I trust him.  We’ve been together for a while now, I think I owe him that.

Recipe:

2 white onions (sliced, caramelized) 
1 red pepper (sliced, roasted)
1 green pepper (sliced, roasted) 
3 jalapeno or serrano peppers (diced, roasted) 
1/2 cup corn
1 15 oz can black beans (or 1.5 cups cooked beans)
1-2 tsp oil
salt

Toppings:

Greek yogurt
salsa
avocado
lettuce

First we’re going to slice our onions.  People get all weird about onions.

They’re like, “No, I’m going to cry.”

And, “Oh my god, my breath.”

I read all sorts of forums about people complaining about onions and crying all that stuff.  People come up with the silliest solutions to avoid this problem — goggles, freezing the onion, soaking the onion in water, cut near a flame.

Silly business.

When you cut into an onion you’re breaking cell walls, inside those cell walls is a chemical compound called sulfoxide which is basically sulfur and oxygen bonded together with other compounds.  When we cut into an onion we release this and it turns into sulfuric acid, which then stimulates the tears in our eyes.  Mind you this is a bastardly simplified version, but enough for these purposes.  Anyway, the majority of the sulfoxides are contained near the root of the onion.  So if you leave the last 1/2 inch of the onion alone and cut with a sharp knife (which disrupts less walls) 9 times out of 10 you won’t have tears and chances are your breath won’t smell.

So quit your bitching and cut your onion.

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Leaving the root on, cut the very top of your onion of after you’ve halved it.  Make slices through your onion, making sure not to disrupt that last 1/2 inch.

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hyperink.com

Here’s a diagram.

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Then slice the root off.

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No tears!

And no freezing, flames, or goggles.

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Now we’re going to caramelize our onions.  This is a process.  Any person writing a recipe that tells you you can caramelize an onion in 5 or 10 minutes is a damn dirty liar and is never to be trusted again.  It takes minimum 30 minutes, but longer is always better.

Add 1-2 tsp oil to a pan and heat over medium heat.

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Add your onions and salt.  Cook over medium-medium high heat.  Don’t stir too often or you’ll prevent caramelizing.

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Every 10 minutes I deglaze the pan.  It’s up to you what you want to use–oil, vinegar, wine, water.  I just used water.

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While your onions are doing their thing get everything else ready.

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Roast your peppers, you can do it on the stove or in the oven.  On the stove or under the broiler is the fastest.

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Just make sure your skins are most, if not all the way black.

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20 minutes in, deglaze your pan if needed.

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Wipe or rinse of your skins.

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And slice.  Dice your serrano or jalapeno peppers if you’re using them.  Or you’ll pay for it.

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30 minutes in.  This is the bare minimum for caramelizing onions.  You could go all day with these beauties and they will only get more delicious.  But you do have to eat eventually, and I can only plan for a meal an hour or so in advance.

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Add your peppers, beans, and corn to your onions and toss around to warm everything.

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Get your toppings ready.

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And your tortillas.

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I love Greek yogurt and find it’s one of those things that is well worth the extra cost.

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Fixins.

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I decided to be cheap and buy iceberg lettuce.  Never again, once you grow accustomed to eating dark leafy greens you’ll wonder why the fuck this stuff even exists.

I’m sorry iceberg but it’s true, you’re a superfluous vegetable.

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The End.

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Whole Wheat Protein Tortillas

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Tortillas are one of those things that once you make them, you’ll wonder why you haven’t all along.  I’ve been a loyal Mission girl since I knew what a tortilla was so I’m issuing myself some authority on tortillas.

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These tortilla shells are obviously not the soft white flour tortilla shells of Mission, dare I say they’re better.  I do dare say.  I was convinced Justin was going to hate these and he loved them.  Side note: when Justin and I first met he was your typical college guy and hated pretty much all things healthy.  Now he’s salivating over a whole wheat soy tortilla.

Ladies, Cosmo was right, you can change your man.

Recipe: (makes 12) NutritionLabel (1)

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup soy flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp oil
3/4 cup water

Add your flours, oil, salt, baking powder to a bowl.

I’m adding soy flour here because I wanted to up the protein of the tortillas.  Soy flour has 10 g of protein per 1/4 cup compared to whole wheat’s 4 g.  The rule is you can replace up to 30% of your flour with soy flour and not run into problems.  You can do all whole wheat if you want but I find using solely whole wheat in any dish makes it too dense.  If I didn’t use soy flour I would have used all purpose.

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Mix together and add your water until it comes together.

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Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.

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It won’t get elastic like a bread dough due to the lack of yeast.

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Portion into 12 equal balls. If you want to do tacos 12 is good.  If you want burritos, consider doing 8.

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Cover with a damp cloth or paper towel so they don’t dry out.

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Lightly flour your surface and flatten out ball with your hand.

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Roll out the rest of the way with a rolling pin.

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Mine were about 6 inches.  Cover back up with a damp cloth until you have made all the tortillas.  I stacked mine on top of each other and didn’t have a problem with sticking.

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Heat a skillet over medium-medium/high heat.  I didn’t bother with oil.

Heat the tortillas for 30 seconds on each side.  You’ll start to see bubbling.

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I found these tortillas good enough to eat on their own, which is something I would never do with store bought tortillas.  I also realized how plastic-y the store bought ones taste after sitting in those bags for so long.

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We enjoyed ours as Vegetarian Fajita Tacos.

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Peach Bran Banana Bread

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The cereal aisle used to be a magical place for me.

All that sugar.  My diet practically consisted of it.

But then I realized I was not an elf and I couldn’t stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup.

So I said farewell to my over-sugarized cereal.

And said hello to healthy-ish green-er living.

Don’t worry I got over it.

So I bought a box of All-Bran cereal because it looked really good and I am officially an old lady and I love poopin’.

Unfortunately I wasn’t jiving it as much as I thought I would (not pooping, the cereal) so now I’ve been throwing it into random baking creations.  Mind you, the cereal tastes fine I just thought the pieces were going to be bigger and it threw off the texture I had envisioned in my brain.

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Feel free to use Raisin Bran or whatever Bran cereal you have on hand for this.  Or if you’re super cool and you have plain wheat bran, use that.  Just increase the sugar amount by a little bit because the cereals contain sugars.

Recipe: (baking time: 1 hour)

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup bran cereal*
1/2 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp white sugar
1 egg
2 bananas (mashed)
1 cup peaches (2, chopped- reserve 1/2 of 1 for topping)
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon

*you can use plain wheat bran if you happen to have that, you may want to increase the sugar amount though

Preheat oven: 350°

Add your cereal or bran to a mixing bowl.

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Sift your flours, baking powder/soda, salt into the bowl.

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Mix.

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Chop your peaches.  Save half of one for your topping.

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Mash your bananas.  I use a whisk, I find the bread turns out better if you turn your bananas into a sludge rather than leaving chunks.

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Add your peaches and cinnamon and mash those together slightly.

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Whisk together your applesauce, vanilla, and brown sugar (save your white sugar for later).  Then add your egg.

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Whisk until just mixed.

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Add your flour mixture and then your banana mixture in chunks, ending with your banana.

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Don’t mix completely between each addition, there’s no need.

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End result.  This batter is a touch thicker than my other banana breads because of the bran.  If yours is too thick add a tbsp or two of milk or juice.

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Pour into greased bread pan and even out.

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Decorate with slices and sprinkle with remaining 1 tbsp of white sugar.  Sprinkling with the sugar on the top gives you that nice crust without having to add as much sugar throughout the whole batter.

If you’ve been following my blog from the beginning you’ll have noticed I started with adding 3/4 cup of sugar to my banana breads and now I’m down to 1/4 cup and they still taste sugary to me.  If you lower your consumption of it, your body stops craving it and it tastes stronger in smaller quantities.

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Bake in a 350° for 1 hour or until tester comes out clean.  Allow to cool 10 minutes before pulling out of pan.

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Enjoy!

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Chocolate Zucchini Bread

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The base for this recipe is very similar to my banana breads.  So if you make it and wind up liking it you can check those out in the BREAKFAST section.  That being said this is even less sugary than my banana bread recipes.  I’m getting even more off the sugar wagon, not that I was ever really on it.  I guess I looked at it a little too hard sometimes, I don’t know.

I’m not eating much processed sugar these days is what I’m saying, I JUST WANT YOU ALL TO BE AWARE.

I’m kidding.

Yesterday, Justin brought home some summer squashes from the farmer’s market.   Now, I had never had a summer squash before and I barely eat zucchini.  I knew zucchini bread was a thing but  I realized I didn’t know exactly what he had brought home.

After some googling it turns out he brought home 1 zucchini, 1, crookneck, and 1 straightneck.

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So what’s the difference?  It turns out not much of anything.  They’re used completely interchangeably in recipes and all that really differs is the color.  All are called summer squashes and they’re picked while still immature so their seeds and skins are still edible.  The only difference seems to be is yellows tend to have more seeds the larger they are, so look for small ones.

So short story shorter, don’t worry about what kind of summer squash you have, no one will be able to tell the difference anyway.

On to the recipe!

Recipe: (baking time: 1 hour) 

1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp instant espresso powder
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
2 cups summer squash (3 small ones)
1 tbsp chocolate chips

Preheat oven 350°

Sift or whisk together your flours, baking powder/soda, salt, and cocoa powder.

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In a large mixing bowl add your applesauce, sugars, espresso powder, and vanilla.

I usually use multiple kinds of sugar in my baking, I feel you get a better product that way.  Brown sugar makes it moist while white sugar gives it that firmer top at the end.  Granted we’re not adding that much but the idea is there.  If you want more of the effect add 1/4 cup of each, the rest of the recipe should be fine, you made need to add a tbsp or 2 of liquid at the end.

The instant espresso is optional, it just intensifies the chocolate flavor.

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Grate your squashes.

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Because these guys contain a lot of excess water you may want to strain them.  You don’t need them to be completely dry just squeeze the clump with your hand or something, just to get most of the liquid out.

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Add an egg to your sugar/applesauce mix and whisk until just combined.

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Now you’re going to add your flours and squash mix in chunks.

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You don’t need to stir thoroughly in between each addition.

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It’s kind of like a souffle mixing action.

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End with a squash addition.

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End result should be pour-able but not liquidy, thicker than a traditional cake batter.

Taste it!  If it’s not sugary enough for you consider sprinkling a tbsp or 2 of sugar after you put it in your pan.  I’m trying to lower my sugar desires and I found that was a good way to transition.

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Add a tbsp of chocolate chips if you want and bake in your 350° for 1 hour or until a tester comes out clean.

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Let it cool.  Give it at least 20 minutes or the poor thing with fall apart on you.

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Bread like this keeps for a day or two on the counter and up to a week in the fridge.

Enjoy!

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Lemon Lavender Blueberry Scones

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These are a lighter version of a scone.  Shocker, I know.  Check out my Apple Cinnamon Scones, which are also lighter if you’d like.  I bought a bottle of Lavender Bitters a while back and while I love adding a dash of it to seltzers I love baking with it even more.  I also made a batch of Lemon Lavender Banana Bread I thought was divine.  I think lemon and lavender are two flavors just begging to be eaten together and find it very hard not to eat one without the other.  I feel like a high society lady who still only wears white before Labor Day when I indulge in them together.

But that’s just me.

It wasn’t until I was writing this blog post that I realized I completely forgot to add egg to this recipe.  They came out perfectly fine, fine enough for me to not notice there wasn’t egg in them anyway.  So there you go, an eggless scone.    If you want to add egg just decrease the amount of buttermilk to about 3/4 cup, but that might throw off your baking soda levels.  Who knows though, it might make them better.

Recipe: (baking time 18-20 minutes)

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
4 tbsp butter (no salt)
1 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp granulated sugar, 1 tbsp granulated sugar for topping
1 tbsp lavender bitters (can also use dried lavender)
zest, juice of 1 lemon (reserve a small amount for topping)
1 cup blueberries (fresh, can use dried or frozen)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven 425°

Whisk or sift together your salt, flours, baking powder/soda.

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Get your buttermilk ready.

If you don’t want to use buttermilk you can do the milk and lemon juice trick and since this recipe already calls for lemon juice you can just use that.  Add the lemon juice to your milk and let it sit for 5 minutes.  But really, buttermilk is tasty and you should use it as much as possible.

Also, if you don’t use buttermilk you’re going to continue dicking with your baking soda levels.

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Get your butter ready.  I make my scones like I make my pies and biscuits so I want my butter to be nice and chilled.  I cut it up and dump it in my milk.  Necessary?  No.  But why not?

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Get your blueberries ready.  You can use dried, but dried blueberries make me sad.

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Zest and juice your lemon.  I just do it into my bowl of blueberries, let them start to soak up some goodness.

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Pull out your butter and mix it into your flour using your fingertips or one of those dough thingies.  Just make sure you leave it clumpy and don’t melt your butter with the heat of your hands.

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Make a little well and pour in your buttermilk, applesauce, and 2 tbsp sugar.  Mix those together in the well.  You can do this in a separate bowl if you like, but why dirty another dish?  When your buttermilk is all mixed you can start to combine it with your flour.

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You have two options with adding your blueberries.  You can either add them with your liquid or you can add them in after your dough comes together.  Neither is right or wrong and both have their draw backs.

If you add your blueberries in with the liquid it’s harder to mix the dough as thoroughly because you’re being careful not to break them.  If you add them in after the dough comes together it’s harder to make sure they’re fully integrated throughout the dough.

That being said I added mine in after my dough came together.

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Dough should be stiff and not sticky.  If it’s sticky considering adding a little more flour.

Pour out dough onto lightly floured parchment paper and separate into two equal portions.

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Shape into 6 inch flat dish (making sure there are no huge gaping holes on top) and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tbsp sugar.  I brush the top with my remaining lemon juice/zest and then sprinkle with the sugar.

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Cut into however many scones you want, I go for eight.

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Bake in a 425° for 18-20 minutes until golden.

Scones should look done on all sides.  If you want the more perfect looking blueberry bits then you have to use dried blueberries.  But as I said before, those make me sad.  Frozen will hold their shape a little better than fresh but I like when some of them burst into the scone.

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Enjoy!

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Adventures in Bread Making: Multi-grain Dutch Oven Bread

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Fucking-a I love bread.

I love everything about bread.
I love smelling it.
I love looking at it.
I love hearing that sexy crackle the crust makes.
I love buying it from pretentious little hipster markets.
Everything.

I spent a good 1/2 hour taking pictures of this beauty not because I couldn’t get a good shot, but because it was that gorgeous.

Okay enough about bread.  What am I saying?  You can never talk about bread too much.

What inspired this bread?  I don’t know, I like throwing a lot of things together and I hate recipes, hence my Multi-grain bread was born.

Recipe:

1 cups bread flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oats (old fashion)
2 tbsp quinoa
2 tbsp flax
2 tbsp sunflower seeds (raw)
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds (raw)
1 tbsp milk powder (milk powder)
1 1/2 cups water + 1/2 cup for proofing
1 1/2 tsp yeast (active dry)
1 1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp applesauce (no sugar added)
1 tsp sugar
oil for coating

Lightly process or blend your oats, flax, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin.  Be careful not to turn them into a powder.  You can use any combination of hard grain/seeds you like or have on hand.  These are just the ones that sounded good to me at the time.

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Add your blended mixture to a boil with your quinoa.

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Boil your 1 1/2 cup water and add it to your mixture.  Let sit for about 20 minutes.

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Until it looks like this.

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Now heat your 1/2 cup proofing water to 110° and add it to small bowl with your yeast and 1 tsp of sugar.

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If it doesn’t look like this after a couple minutes I just start over.  You want happy yeast.

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While your yeast is finishing proofing you can start adding the rest of your ingredients to your mixer or a mixing bowl.  Applesauce, salt, flours, milk powder, porridge concoction.  I say milk powder is optional.  I’ve forgotten to add it a couple times to random recipes and I haven’t really noticed a difference, but if you’ve got it why not use it?

Get this started mixing and then add you yeast.

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Make sure they don’t get too happy on you.

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Mix on a lower speed until it just comes together.  This will be a wetter dough because of the porridge business we added.

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Turn out onto your work surface and do the kneading thing.  Again, because this is wetter to start don’t be afraid to add flour during your kneading.  I alternate between bread flour and whole wheat during my kneading if I find I’m using a lot.

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Because there are so many goodies in this dough it’s going to be near impossible to do the window pane test to determine kneading completion.  So just kind of knead it until it becomes a tighter, smoother ball.  As I’ve said before it is ridiculously hard for one to over knead a dough at this stage, so don’t worry about it.  Bread kneads lots of attention at this stage, give it some.  ← Ha!

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Lightly oil this beauty and put it back in your mixing bowl.  Cover in a warm area for 1 hour.

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You know your bread will be good when the dough looks good enough to eat.

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Punch it down.  Punch it down all over.

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Form it back into a ball.  Tucking the sides under and in and smoothing out the top with your hand.  As you would a doughnut or bagel, just a really big one.  Top with some whole wheat flour and place on a sheet of parchment paper.

If you don’t want/can’t make this in a dutch oven just divide the dough in two and make it normally as you would a sandwich loaf.

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Let rise for 1 hour.

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Near the end of your breads rising time preheat your oven to 425° with your dutch oven (and lid) inside.  The dutch oven need to reach 425°, so don’t start preheating too late, about 30 to 40 minutes in.

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Score your bread to encourage even expansion.  You want to make even, clean cuts about 1/4 inch deep.

I found this article on scoring helpful and the bread pictures are pretty.

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When your oven has reached 425° carefully remove it and gently place your bread inside.  Do not drop it in or you’ll partially ruin your rise.

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Bake for about 15 minutes with the lid on.

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Bake for another 15 with the lid removed to darken the crust.

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Allow to cool on rack for 30 minutes (remove paper).

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Enjoy!

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Adventures in Bread Making: Whole Wheat Pitas

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I finally got around to making pitas!  I had dragged my feet with it because I get a pack at the store for a $1 or so and I thought they tasted pretty good.  And then I made these and realized, holy shit I’ve never had a fresh pita before–the veils that get lifted from your eyes a quarter of the way through your existence, don’t even get me started on how easy it is to actually make a risotto.

I can’t tell you how many pita recipes I came across that didn’t have sugar in them.  Actually I can, because I passed kindergarten.  It was three.  Three!  Three popular bread recipes not containing sugar, spouting how healthy it is and…whatever.  It’s fucking bread people.  It has yeast, yeast needs sugar.  Put sugar in your fucking bread recipes.  And also, it’s bread.  It’s carbs.  If you’re so concerned about that I don’t know, eat a salad and be sad.  Stop fucking with bread.

I’m sorry I’m just really passionate about bread.

That being said, I dick around with recipes.  Mostly because I have a complete inability to follow even the most simple recipe.  So now I’m telling you to follow mine.  Still with me?  Coolio.

Recipe:

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cup water (warmed to 110°)
2 tsp honey
2 1/4 tsp yeast

Proof your yeast. I always proof my yeast in a separate bowl before I add it to my flour regardless of what a recipe says. What if you screwed up the temperature and cooked your yeast, what if your yeast is old, what if you don’t know how to use a measuring spoon properly and pour half the bottle in? Then you’ve just wasted a decent amount of flour, and that’s sad and avoidable. Mix 1/4 cup of your warmed water with your honey and yeast. Gently. Yeast are sensitive creatures.

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1 minute in.

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A couple minutes in.

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As soon as I start to see my yeast buddies munching and gurgling I start prepping all my other ingredients.  Flours, oil, salt.

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And your water.  I warm all of my water to the yeast’s ideal temperature.  I figure it makes the yeast extra happy and they pay you back for it later.  I only do nice things if I get something in return, yeast are no exception.  I stir that around a couple times.

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And this is what my happy yeast friends have turned themselves into.

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Now add them to your dough.

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And mix until it pulls away from the bowl.  Oh I forgot to say we’re making this without a mixer.  Fancy!  No, I just prefer making bread by hand.

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Flour your surface.  I prefer my dough to be stickier when I start with it on the cutting board and to work more flour into it during the kneading process then to have it be good to go and worry about drying it out.  If that idea freaks you out or you read somewhere from some bread expert that that’s wrong then do 1 1/4 cup water total to the recipe.

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Pour your dough out onto floured surface.

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Knead for 5-10 minutes until it’s not a sticky mess.

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Then cover it with your mixing bowl and walk away for 20 minutes.

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Oooh, look how happy it is.

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Knead for another 5-10 minutes, this is when you want to get that elasticity.  Check for some window pane action, it’s a little harder to achieve with whole wheat based breads but as long as the bread looks like it’s trying to make one that’s fine.  Also, it’s hard to take a picture of dough window pane with one hand, so no picture for you.

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Rub down with some oil and put it in a bowl to rise, yes I put it back in my dirty mixing bowl.  I’m not a man, I don’t do dishes.  Dishes is men work.

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Cover with saran wrap AND a towel and let rest for 1 hour or until doubled in size.  I used to think it was unnecessary to use saran wrap but it really seals in moisture.  Look who doesn’t practice proper stove safety.

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1 hour.

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Punch it down.  That seems pointless.

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There we go.

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Turn dough back out onto your work surface and separate into 8 equals portions.  My dough started out at 28.2 oz, so each pita dough ball weighed about 3.5 oz.  If that is in fact what those random numbers on my recipe sheet meant.  Roll them into balls as you would bagels, tucking the sides under and in, smoothing the tops with your palms until they’re taut.

Put onto a baking sheet and cover with a damp cloth.  We’re talking damp, not dripping, not random wet spots here and there, damp.  You don’t want to risk your dough drying out.

Let rest for 20 minutes.

At this point you want to start preheating your 500° oven with your cooking pan in it.  I used my cast iron pan.

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Lightly (LIGHTLY) dust your work surface with whole wheat flour and gently press your dough balls out into pita size.  1/4-1/8 thick, I didn’t bother to measure, that’s just what everyone says.

I did not roll my pitas out with a rolling pin.  I know you’re not supposed to that with pizza dough, so I figured the same reasoning applied.  It’s too violent of a process for the dough at this stage.  Remember, yeast are fickle creatures so anything that arises from their bodily functions will be much the same.

Lightly (LIGHTLY) sprinkle with whole wheat flour on top to give them that homemade rusticyness vibe thing.

Make all your pitas and let rest for 10 minutes, covered with your damp cloth.

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Place one pita dough at a time on your cast iron or whatever oven safe thing you have and bake for 3 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool and repeat.

Okay these three pitas have information for you.

Top Left Pita: “Jenn read somewhere that you should lightly spritz your cast iron with water and close the oven door to create steam in your oven.  She did this, but failed to let the oven get back to 500°.  I was  baked at 450° and so my pocket didn’t get big, this made me sad and wish Jenn wasn’t so impatient.”

Top Right Pita: “I was one of the last pita doughs Jenn flattened but then the second one she baked, so I didn’t get to rest as long as the others, so my pocket wasn’t well formed.  This made me sad and wish Jenn would pay more attention.”

Bottom Pita:  “Jenn got her shit together with me.  I was rested for 10 minutes after my formation and baked in a 500° for 3 minutes.  My pocket was well formed and this made me happy.”

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6 happy pitas and 2 not so happy ones.  Don’t worry they found their home as a dip implement.

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