Lemon Loaf

Well, this humble lemon loaf serves as two milestones on the blog now. Firstly, this is my first post of 2017! Happy New Year everyone! I hope you were able to ring in the new year with loved ones, and that 2017 has been treating you well so far. I’m back to work now, and I have to say, I missed it. Sure, I loved having two weeks off, but by the end of the two weeks, I was going a little stir-crazy. I guess that’s what happens when you love your job!
Secondly, this lemon loaf post is my 100th post on the blog! How exciting! I’ve brought you 100 recipes so far, shared them with you all. I wanted to make a beautiful Pumpkin Chocolate Ganache cake for the 100th post, but cakes require lots of planning, and this lemon loaf just sort of came to be. These kinds of posts are all over the blog, the “I’ve been meaning to write a post and I just made something really good today, so why don’t I just put it on the blog?!” Either way, I am overdue for a cake recipe, and I am sure the cake I planned on will make an appearance soon. 🙂


This lemon loaf also got some rave reviews, and if you are a Lemon Loaf lover, this recipe is for you! Soft, moist loaf cake with a lemony glaze that is just right. I found the original recipe here, and the original author labelled it as “Better than Starbucks Copycat Lemon Loaf”. Well, I have to say, this lemon loaf is pretty darn good.

This Lemon Loaf is also so easy! It’s a one-bowl recipe, and can be whipped up in no time.

Go make some today! Chances are you have most, if not all, of the ingredients in your pantry!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 loaf

For the loaf:

3 eggs
1 c. sugar
1 c. sour cream or Greek yogurt
½ c. canola or vegetable oil
2 tbsp. lemon zest
1-2 tbsp. lemon extract (I put 2 tbsp.
1½ c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt

For the lemon glaze:

1 c. icing sugar
3 tbsp. lemon juice (or slightly more or less, for consistency)

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a loaf pan, or coat with Miracle Cake Release.

In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs, sugar, and sour cream and whisk well until combined. While whisking, drizzle in the oil. Add in the lemon zest and lemon extract (and note that you CAN’T use lemon juice instead of lemon extract in the loaf cake – it will alter the flavour or consistency), and whisk again.

Add in the flour, baking powder and salt, and whisk until just combined. Some lumps in the batter is okay, you just don’t want raw flour that you can see in the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50-52 minutes, or until top is domed and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. I started checking the loaf around 45 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow loaf to cool in pan for 30 minutes before turning onto a wire rack.

Place a piece of parchment paper under the cooling rack, and in a small mixing bowl, whisk together the icing sugar and lemon juice. The more juice you add, the thinner the glaze will be, so don’t add it all in at once. I made a thick glaze that I had to help move across the top of the loaf cake and slowly drizzled down the sides.

Slice and serve. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Sourdough Burger Buns


I have been looking for so long for a good sourdough bun! I actually used these as the bun for a homemade beef dip that I made when Paul was working one night, but I was so happy with how these turned out!

I was able to use my starter right out of the fridge (bonus!!), and these buns were so good right out of the oven and slathered with butter (one of my favourite ways to eat a bun/my guilty pleasure bread confession… warm bun with melted butter? I’m there).

These buns also didn’t take that long to make. I was worried, because I had decided to make buns after the meat was cooking (I also cooked it from frozen though), and wasn’t sure what would take longer – the buns to rise and cook, or the frozen meat to cook to tender and done in the oven. Turns out, the buns took slightly longer, but not by much.

I found the original recipe here, and the only thing I modified was to add a teaspoon of active dry yeast. I wasn’t sure, like I said, if the buns would rise in time with just the starter, so I wanted to help the buns along. I changed this in the recipe below.

Ingredients

Yield: 8 buns

2 c. sourdough starter, fed or unfed
3 tbsp. butter
½ c. milk, lukewarm
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. active dry yeast
3 c. flour

In a mixer bowl fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the sourdough starter, butter, milk, eggs, salt, sugar and yeast. Stir together. Add flour, and mix until a cohesive dough forms. If the dough is sticky, add a bit more flour. If it is very dry, add a tablespoon or so of water until the dough becomes smooth and satiny.

Place the dough into a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Once risen, form the dough into tennis-ball sized buns, making sure to pinch closed any seams to make the buns as seamless as possible. (If you want, you can roll out the dough and cut rounds with a 4 inch cookie cutter and then do the rise.)

Place buns on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.

If you want, you can give the buns an egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

Homemade Pizza Crust


Now, I know that pizza crust isn’t a dessert. I have been mostly sticking to desserts on the blog, with the occasional savoury bread product. Now, there’s nothing wrong with desserts and bread, but pizza crust IS a bread product, and there is nothing like homemade pizza crust.

Cooked properly, and on a proper pizza stone, homemade pizza crust is the bomb. Fluffy, crispy on the bottom, browned nicely on the bottom and on the edges, this recipe isn’t too bread-like, but also isn’t too thin that you can’t enjoy it properly.

I have made pizza crust multiple times, and this recipe is awesome. Firstly, it makes enough for 2 pizzas. Secondly, it freezes beautifully. I actually doubled the recipe, so we were able to make one pizza, then freeze the other three portions to make pizza again.

When you make homemade pizza, as Annie says, be sure that you use a pizza stone. It makes homemade pizza that much better. If you use a pizza stone, however, you have to baby that thing! It must be placed in a cold oven, and preheated with the oven. Don’t EVER put a cold pizza stone in a hot oven – that’s how you crack and break it. Also, you have to let it cool completely in and with the oven. It may stay hot long after the oven, and what I usually do is leave the pizza stone in until the next morning, until I know it’s cool, then take it out of the oven and put it away.

Trust me – but trust Annie – she knows her stuff. In the post I linked you to she also includes a bunch of tips and tricks for pizza making.

P.S. Doesn’t that homemade pulled pork pizza look incredible?!?! Crust from scratch, Paul’s homemade pulled pork, a BBQ sauce base, with bacon and tons of cheese. Man, that pizza hit the spot!

Ingredients

Yield: Enough pizza crust for 2 medium pizzas or 4 calzones

½ c. warm water
2¼ tsp. yeast
4 c. (22 oz.) flour
1½ tsp. salt
1¼ c. water, at room temperature
2 tbsp. olive oil

In a liquid measuring cup, add the warm water, and sprinkle the yeast on top. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour and salt. Measure the room temperature water into the liquid measuring cup with the warm water and the yeast. With the mixer on low, pour in the water/yeast mixture and the olive oil. Mix until cohesive, then switch to a dough hook and mix until the dough is soft and elastic, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat, and cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1½ – 2 hours.

After the rise, press down the dough to deflate it. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces, and form each piece into a smooth, round ball.

If you are freezing the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. If you are using the dough, cover with a damp cloth and let the dough relax for 10-30 minutes.

As soon as the dough is relaxing, place a pizza stone in a cold oven and preheat oven to 500°F for at least 30 minutes. Transfer the dough to your shaping surface (I use a cutting board with parchment paper) and shape lightly with floured hands. Brush the outer edge with olive oil, and top the pizza as desired. Bake until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbling, 8-15 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Buttery Sourdough Buns


We all know how much I love bread and all things bread related. It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything sourdough, and I had a hankering to experiment with a recipe I’ve never tried before using sourdough.

I mean, my fall-back recipe using my sourdough starter are my Sourdough Soft Pretzels, except recently, I’ve been turning them into dinner by wrapping the dough around hot dogs and then proceeding with the recipe – BAM! Sourdough Pretzel Dogs.If you think that sounds good – seriously try it! It’s FANTASTIC! It’s also my new favourite way to eat hot dogs… and I was never a hot dog fan.

But, back to all things bread and buns. The great thing about bread and bun recipes are that they take so long. However, this is also the downfall. I can’t make a loaf of bread if I’ve got school, or if I’ll be out of the house all day. However, I got up this morning, Thanksgiving Monday, and thought “I need to use my sourdough starter”. I always love looking for recipes that use the unfed “discard” part of the starter – waste not, want not. This bun recipe was great, because it uses pantry staples (if your pantry, like mine, includes a sourdough starter) and didn’t take long to whip together. I was going to spend the day lounging around the house and getting some marking done anyways, so it was the perfect thing to make… also considering it just snowed overnight! Boo. 😦


Either way – I love bread, I love buns. I’m really and truly a carb fan. This recipe is simple, and the longest part is waiting for the buns to rise. Still, one more way to use my sourdough starter, and I’m fine with that!

Ingredients

Yield: 16 buns

½ c. sourdough starter (fed or unfed)
3 c. flour
2½ tsp. instant yeast
1 tbsp. sugar
1¼ tsp. salt
1 egg
5 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
2/3 c. lukewarm water

4 tbsp. butter, melted, for topping

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook, or by hand, combine all ingredients and knead until you get a soft, smooth dough.

Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 1½ – 2 hours.

Gently deflate dough and transfer to a lightly greased work surface. Roll and pat the dough into a rough rectangle about 12″ x 16″. Brush some of the melted butter over the surface of the dough.

Starting with the long side, roll the dough into a log. Cut 16 buns out of the dough log with a sharp knife or use dental floss. Lightly grease two 8 or 9 inch cake pans, and arrange 8 buns in each pan.

Cover the pans with a tea towel, and let rise for about 1 hour, until they are noticeably puffy. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350° F.

Uncover the buns, brush with remaining melted butter, and bake for 22-25 minutes. They may only darken on the top very slightly. Remove from the oven, and turn out onto a wire cooling rack. Serve warm or hot with more butter as desired. You can also save some of the melted butter to brush over the buns when they come out of the oven.

Sourdough Chocolate Cake

Yes, you read that right. Sourdough Chocolate Cake. There is actual sourdough starter in the cake batter. Don’t worry though, because you can’t taste the sourdough. It mixes into the cake batter (with a bit of effort!) but it makes the cake a little denser, almost bread-like, and tones down the chocolate so the cake is still sweet, but not overly sweet. It gives a different depth of flavour to the cake, and the result is – surprisingly – good!

I was really unsure about how the cake would turn out, because of the sourdough in the cake, but I was pleasantly surprised. I found the recipe because I was looking for another way to use up my sourdough starter, and this was a great way!

The original recipe calls for a fed sourdough starter, but I hate throwing anything away, so I used my unfed starter, and the cake turned out fine. I am assuming, then, that either a fed or unfed sourdough starter would work in this cake and it will turn out just fine.

Ingredients

Yield: 1 large Bundt cake

1 c. sourdough starter
1 c. milk
2 c. flour
1½ c. sugar
1 c. canola or vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
1½ tsp. baking soda
¾ c. cocoa powder
1 tsp. espresso powder (instant coffee grounds work as well)
2 eggs

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sourdough starter, milk, and flour. The mixture will be thick. Let sit, covered, at room temperature for 2-3 hours. Mixture will expand slightly.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a Bundt pan with cooking spray or brush with Miracle Cake Release.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, oil, vanilla, salt, baking powder, cocoa, and espresso powder. Beat on low speed to combine. Don’t worry – the batter might be grainy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beating after each addition.

Add the starter mixture to the batter, and beat on low until fully incorporated (this might take a while – it took me about 10-15 minutes). The starter is a bit elastic-like and will not want to cooperate for the first few minutes, but just keep at it – it will incorporate eventually.

Pour batter into the prepared pan, and place in preheated oven. Bake for about 45 minutes, until a sharp knife or toothpick comes out clean.

Transfer the pan to a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then turn out cake and let cool. Glaze with your favourite icing sugar glaze (with different flavours if desired) or icing. Slice and serve!