Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Foodies, can you help with bread? Also, a stew recipe.

I can't make bread products. I've tried. I used to be good at it but when I started being a better cook and baker (of sweets), for some reason, my bread making skills suffered. I can't even make a decent bread machine bread (although I'm convinced it's because the machine went on the fritz and wasn't all me)!

Today I was making dinner and decided to bite the bullet and try again. I figured 1 year was long enough to hide and I'd better step out of the shadows and face up to whatever it is I'm doing to screw this all up.  I tried Judy's recipe for Baking Soda Biscuits.  It's a decent biscuit, light on the flavor but that's perfect for what I wanted which was a bread to sop up the gravy of the stew I made.

Her's look like this. (This picture is linked from Judy's posted recipe in the blog link above.)
Mine look like this. Just a tad taller than the 1/2" I was told to roll the dough out to.
Taste was fine, rise was not. What did I do? The dough was not too wet, did I over handle it because I rolled it out as her recipe suggested? should I have just patted it out to 1/2" thickness and left it? Really, I need help here, my bread or biscuits NEVER rise. I am thinking they used to be too wet but now I'm thinking it's because I'm handling the dough too much.  Can it be? Anyone who can make a successful bread, please speak up and I thank you (as does the hubs, the kids, the dogs, my waist line -wait, the waist line might not thank you) in advance.

Onto dinner. Today was a clean out the fridge meal.  My DD loves these meals, they almost always "work" and then I need to post them here so I can remember to come back to them when we want to replicate it.

See how good this looks? 
All the following are leftover ingredients.
- Elk roast, about 1.5 lbs., cut into small cubes (Beef is interchangeable here.)
- Roasted potatoes, carrots, onions, tomatoes, celery and liquid from the elk roast (be sure veggies get chopped into bite size pieces for this one)
- 1/2 can Busch's Bourbon and Brown Sugar baked beans
- 1/2 cup cooked greenbeans (chopped into bite size pieces)
- 1/8 cup marinara (spaghetti) sauce
- 1/8 cup alfredo sauce
- 1/4 cup brown gravy
- 1/4 robust and fruity red wine
- Seasonings, to taste = black pepper, sea salt, paprika, italian seasoning (I used dried seasoning, not fresh)

Dump all ingredients into a large stock pot and stir to combine. Cover and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally for 1 to 1.5 hours.  Serve with bread or rolls you did not screw up. Or, serve with the screwed up rolls and tell people not to complain because they didn't have to cook. Whatever works in your household.
Oh, hey and try a glass of that red wine with your meal while you are at it. Yum.

Have a nice evening!


Shay said...

I'm sending you a bread recipe I got from Marg. Impossible to screw it up- if I can make it - anyone can. Check your email in about 10 minutes...

Okay onto the stew...I read bourbon and got excited and then saw it was beans. You redeemed yourself by suggesting wine at the end.
I'll go with the beef version since elk is kinda hard to come by here ....

Bookmarked for winter Chiquita.

Tracy said...

As far as biscuits go, honestly, just go with self-rising flour, it already has the soda mixed into it. Also check your baking soda. It might be out of date. There's no testing it, so just chuck it if it is over date. With "quick" breads (these are the soda, non-yeast breads) handle these as little as possible. Seriously. Mix, put onto floured surface and flatten down to about 1/2 inch and then put onto your baking sheet. Yeast breads you want to get that gluten going so you want to play with it more.

Barb said...

Now that is one thing I can say I can do, I can make the biscuits and breads. Is your baking powder expired? Also...I don't know how you did it but....you add your milk slowly and even if it calls for 4 tbl...you don't have to use it all...oh well...I am not an expert but I do love the breads....oink!! oink!!

From Our Hart To Yours said...

I have tried to make good bread as well. And mine too turns out, well, lets just say a little wonky. I think its just a trial and error process. Keep at girl you can do it =).

quiltfool said...

In my lifetime, I've been able to make rolls and biscuits, but never at the same time. If my biscuits are coming out good, my rolls will flop and vice versa. Honestly, your biscuits look good to me. Biscuit dough is usually stiff, but other than that, I have no suggestions. Try, try again. Lane

Kirsten's Cooking said...

I can never make good biscuits - but we just slather them in honey and butter anyway!

your stew looks and sounds delicious! I love elk meat - and I never thought to put baked beans or green beans in, but it sounds great!

thanks for sharing your dinner :)

Dea-chan said...

This is why I always make drop biscuits -- add some more milk, and don't worry about rolling and cutting! (I think in the recipe I have from my grandma, the rolled biscuits were 1/2 - 3/4c. milk, and the dropped biscuits were 1 c of milk).