Ice Cream Sandwiches

Summer is here (except for the days when it feels like it’s not?) so it’s time for ice cream! The ice cream recipe itself allows for a lot of variations for personal preference, and then once frozen it stays soft enough to scoop into ice cream sandwiches without much effort, without being so soft it just runs down your wrist, so you’ll still have one clean hand to donate to bail funds for protesters while you eat.

Ingredients:

Ice Cream:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk, chilled
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped/broken peanut butter shortbread cookies, Oreos, or other cookies
  • 1 4 ounce box Reese’s Pieces
  • several heaping tablespoons of hot fudge sauce, roughly 6 ounces

Cookies:

 

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt

*It’s not mandatory, but it never hurts to put the bowl and beaters you’re planning to use in the freezer a while before trying to beat up whipped cream.

To make the ice cream, combine the cream and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat until stiff peaks form.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the condensed milk.

Use a spatula to stir in the crushed cookies and Reese’s Pieces by hand.

Pour half of the ice cream mixture into a large storage container.

Microwave the hot fudge sauce 30 seconds, or until it is smooth and pourable. Drizzle a large, heaping tablespoon of fudge sauce over the ice cream.

Repeat with the other half of the ice cream, and additional fudge sauce.

Run a butter knife or bbq skewer through the mixture to swirl the fudge sauce a bit.

*You can beat the hot fudge sauce in while mixing together the base, but this way it’s just swirls, and each bite is a bit different.

*Remember that ice cream expands a bit as it freezes, so if your container is already filled all the way to the top, split it up so it doesn’t explode out of the lid and make a mess in your freezer.

Cover, and freeze at least 4 hours.

To make the cookies, first cream together the butter and sugars in a large bowl.

Beat in the vanilla and egg yolk.

Sift together the flour and salt and beat it in in two batches.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes, up to overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment.

Roll the cookies out on a lightly floured surface to somewhere between 1/2 and 1/4 in thick.

Cut out cookies with a sharp cookie cutter and place the cutouts on the prepared sheets.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden and crispy.

Remove to a wire rack to cool, then pair up and fill with ice cream to make ice cream sandwiches!

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ice Cream:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk, chilled
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped/broken peanut butter shortbread cookies, Oreos, or other cookies
  • 1 4 ounce box Reese’s Pieces
  • several heaping tablespoons of hot fudge sauce, roughly 6 ounces

Cookies:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt

To make the ice cream, combine the cream and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat until stiff peaks form, then reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the condensed milk. Use a spatula to stir in the crushed cookies and Reese’s Pieces by hand. Pour half of the ice cream mixture into a large storage container.

Microwave the hot fudge sauce 30 seconds, or until it is smooth and pourable. Drizzle a large, heaping tablespoon of fudge sauce over the ice cream. Repeat with the other half of the ice cream, and additional fudge sauce. Run a butter knife or bbq skewer through the mixture to swirl the fudge sauce a bit. Cover, and freeze at least 4 hours.

To make the cookies, first cream together the butter and sugars in a large bowl. Beat in the vanilla and egg yolk. Sift together the flour and salt and beat it in in two batches.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes, up to overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment.

Roll the cookies out on a lightly floured surface to somewhere between 1/2 and 1/4 in thick. Cut out cookies with a sharp cookie cutter and place the cutouts on the prepared sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden and crispy. Remove to a wire rack to cool, then pair up and fill with ice cream to make ice cream sandwiches!

 

 

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Fast Crusty Bread

Where I found this, they called it “no-time” bread, which I think sounds stupid, but “quick bread” is already its own separate type of baked good, so…fast bread? Sure! This bread goes from “hmm I want some bread” to ready to eat in under 2 hours, and makes a good bread with a firm crust, thanks to the power of…the microwave! Nuking the dough briefly dramatically slashes rising time, and a tiny bit of balsamic provides a sort of ‘bite’ to make up for the tang you get in long, slow rise doughs. Give it a try!

Ingredients:

  • 2 packets active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Combine the yeast and sugar in the water in a large bowl and stir to combine, then let sit for a few minutes until it begins to foam.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 450, with a dutch oven on the middle rack. Starting now makes sure the dutch oven will be well heated when you’re ready, and, again, we don’t have 2 hour-long rises to deal with here! Grease a large microwave safe bowl and set aside.

Add 3 cups of the flour, as well as the salt and vinegar, and stir together until it’s formed a sticky dough. Knead in the remaining half cup of flour and knead vigorously until smooth and elastic. Form the dough into a ball, place smooth-side-down in the bowl, then rotate smooth-side-up, to grease lightly all over.

Wet a kitchen towel well, then wring it out until it’s not dripping, and drape over the bowl with the dough. Cover the wet towel with a dry towel, then microwave on high for 25 seconds. Let the dough sit in the microwave 5 minutes, then microwave an additional 25 seconds. Remove the bowl from the microwave and let rest and additional 15 minutes.

When the rises are done, remove the dutch oven from the oven and take off the lid. Quickly deflate the risen dough and shape back into a ball, then place in the dutch oven, where it will probably sizzle a bit. Quickly cut slashes in the top of the bread with a sharp knife or razor blade, then cover the dutch oven and put back in the oven.

Bake 30 minutes, then remove the cover and bake an additional 10 minutes, until golden brown and crusty.

Let cool at least 30 minutes before slicing, to avoid a weird gummy texture from the steam all escaping – that’s the same for any yeast bread!

Fast Crusty Bread

From Kitchn.

  • 2 packets active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Combine the yeast and sugar in the water in a large bowl and stir to combine, then let sit for a few minutes until it begins to foam.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 450, with a dutch oven on the middle rack. Grease a large microwave safe bowl and set aside.

Add 3 cups of the flour, as well as the salt and vinegar, and stir together until it’s formed a sticky dough. Knead in the remaining half cup of flour and knead vigorously until smooth and elastic. Form the dough into a ball, place smooth-side-down in the bowl, then rotate smooth-side-up, to grease lightly all over. Wet a kitchen towel well, then wring it out until it’s not dripping, and drape over the bowl with the dough. Cover the wet towel with a dry towel, then microwave on high for 25 seconds. Let the dough sit in the microwave 5 minutes, then microwave an additional 25 seconds. Remove the bowl from the microwave and let rest and additional 15 minutes.

When the rises are done, remove the dutch oven from the oven and take off the lid. Quickly deflate the risen dough and shape back into a ball, then place in the dutch oven, where it will probably sizzle a bit. Quickly cut slashes in the top of the bread with a sharp knife or razor blade, then cover the dutch oven and put back in the oven. Bake 30 minutes, then remove the cover and bake an additional 10 minutes, until golden brown and crusty.

Let cool at least 30 minutes before slicing.

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Chocolate Glazed Cake

I bought ingredients for last week’s layered chocolate dessert knowing I’d need to use up some cream and the chocolate syrup, so it was a 2-dessert plan, along with this cake. It was, I’m going to say, a very good plan! This is basically a nice vanilla 1 bowl cake, which then gets doused in chocolate and covered in a light chocolate whipped cream. What could be better?

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 egg whites, room temperature

Chocolate Glaze:

  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 packet unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup chocolate syrup

Chocolate Whipped Cream:

  • 1 cup cold whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup chocolate syrup
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

It’s easier to separate eggs when they’re still cold, so I recommend separating and then letting just the whites come up to room temperature, rather than leaving the whole eggs out.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×13″ pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Add the shortening, butter, vanilla, and buttermilk, and beat on low until it begins to combine, then once there are no large areas of dry flour that are likely to explode out of the bowl, increase the speed to medium and beat 2 minutes.

Add the egg whites and beat a further 2 minutes, then pour into the prepared pan.

Bake 30-35 minutes, until it passes the toothpick test. Mine was clearly jiggly and uncooked at 30, but browned and nicely baked at 35. Set aside to cool in the pan for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the glaze. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the 1/4 cup cold water, then let sit for 2 minutes to absorb. Pour over the boiling water, and stir until entirely dissolved.

Add the 1 cup chocolate syrup and stir well.

Once the cake has cooled for 15 minutes, use a for to poke rows, 1″ apart, the length and width of the cake.

Pour the glaze over the cake, slowly that it can be absorbed into the holes rather than all run off the sides. Refrigerate several hours or overnight to set.

To make the whipped cream, beat together all the ingredients until still peaks form.

Spread over the top of the cake, then serve.

Store leftovers in the fridge.

Chocolate Glazed Cake

From Hershey’s.

Cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 egg whites, room temperature

Chocolate Glaze:

  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 packet unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup chocolate syrup

Chocolate Whipped Cream:

  • 1 cup cold whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup chocolate syrup
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×13″ pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the shortening, butter, vanilla, and buttermilk, and beat on low until it begins to combine, then once there are no large areas of dry flour that are likely to explode out of the bowl, increase the speed to medium and beat 2 minutes. Add the egg whites and beat a further 2 minutes, then pour into the prepared pan. Bake 30-35 minutes, until it passes the toothpick test. Set aside to cool in the pan for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the glaze. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the 1/4 cup cold water, then let sit for 2 minutes to absorb. Pour over the boiling water, and stir until entirely dissolved. Add the 1 cup chocolate syrup and stir well.

Once the cake has cooled for 15 minutes, use a for to poke rows, 1″ apart, the length and width of the cake. Pour the glaze over the cake, slowly that it can be absorbed into the holes rather than all run off the sides. Refrigerate several hours or overnight to set.

To make the whipped cream, beat together all the ingredients until still peaks form. Spread over the top of the cake, then serve. Store leftovers in the fridge.

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Chocolate Syrup Layered Dessert

A surprisingly light chocolate dessert, this seems like maybe it should be chocolate cheesecake-y, but it’s not nearly so dense as that, even without counting the whipped cream layer. Good, though!!

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 60 Nilla Wafers (regular sized), crushed
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

Chocolate Filling:

  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup Hershey’s chocolate syrup, chilled
  • 3/4 cup milk

Vanilla Filling:

  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1 cup cold whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

To prepare the crust, stir together the Nilla crumbs and melted butter, then press evenly into the bottom and 1 1/2″ up the sides of a 9″ springform. (I definitely read it as 1/2″ and didn’t go that far up. Oh well!) Refrigerate at least 30 minutes while you work on the other parts.

In a small, microwave-safe dish, sprinkle the 1 packet gelatin over the cold water and let stand until the water is absorbed, up to 5 minutes. Microwave 10-15 seconds, until totally melted and liquid. Set aside briefly to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.

Add the chocolate syrup, milk, and melted gelatin and blend well. Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until thickened enough that the mixture will mound on a spoon, 20-30 minutes.

While that chills, make the vanilla filling. To start, combine the teaspoon of gelatin and tablespoon of cold water, and let stand a minute to absorb. Stir in the 2 tablespoons boiling water until dissolved, then set aside. Combine the whipped cream, sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl, and beat until slightly thickened.

Continue beating, while gradually adding the melted gelatin, until still peaks form.

Once both fillings are made, spread half of the chocolate mixture into the prepared crust, followed by half of the vanilla mixture. Repeat with the other halves. Draw a knife/spatula through the layers to gently swirl the mixture. If you actually want it to swirl, I think you probably should just mound in the fillings, rather that creating smooth layers, as those didn’t mix very much for me.

Cover, and refrigerate several hours until set. Slice and serve, drizzled with extra chocolate syrup if desired.

Chocolate Syrup Layered Dessert

From Hershey’s, who had it written incredibly inconveniently.

Crust:

  • 60 Nilla Wafers (regular sized), crushed
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

Chocolate Filling:

  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup Hershey’s chocolate syrup, chilled
  • 3/4 cup milk

Vanilla Filling:

  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1 cup cold whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

To prepare the crust, stir together the Nilla crumbs and melted butter, then press evenly into the bottom and 1 1/2″ up the sides of a 9″ springform. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes while you work on the other parts.

In a small, microwave-safe dish, sprinkle the 1 packet gelatin over the cold water and let stand until the water is absorbed, up to 5 minutes. Microwave 10-15 seconds, until totally melted and liquid. Set aside briefly to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Add the chocolate syrup, milk, and melted gelatin and blend well. Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until thickened enough that the mixture will mound on a spoon, 20-30 minutes.

While that chills, make the vanilla filling. To start, combine the teaspoon of gelatin and tablespoon of cold water, and let stand a minute to absorb. Stir in the 2 tablespoons boiling water until dissolved, then set aside. Combine the whipped cream, sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl, and beat until slightly thickened. Continue beating, while gradually adding the melted gelatin, until still peaks form.

Once both fillings are made, spread half of the chocolate mixture into the prepared crust, followed by half of the vanilla mixture. Repeat with the other halves. Draw a knife/spatula through the layers to gently swirl the mixture. Cover, and refrigerate several hours until set. Slice and serve, drizzled with extra chocolate syrup if desired.

 

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Cowboy Casserole

Had some Bisquick to use up, so went straight to the source for a recipe that would kill the box for me. The recipe calls for ground beef, but I used ground turkey because…I pretend that I’m healthy? When covered with beans and extra sauce, I’m not sure I even noticed the difference! The biscuits in this got very crisp on the outside, and weren’t even gross soggy on the 3rd night of leftovers/4th serving.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef/turkey
  • 1 16 ounce can baked beans
  • 1/2 cup bbq sauce
  • 2 cups Bisquick mix
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted (the original said softened, but that was still difficult to smoosh in to the dough)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat your oven to 425. Cook your ground meat in a skillet over medium-high heat until browned through, stirring occasionally, 5-7 minutes, then drain any excess grease.

Stir the beans and bbq sauce into the cooked meat and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches a boil.

Transfer to a 2 quart casserole.

Meanwhile, combine the Bisquick, milk, and butter in a medium bowl, and stir until evenly combined.

Once the meat mixture is in the casserole dish, drop the Bisquick dough onto the top in 12 spoonfuls.

Bake 18-22 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown.

Sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake an additional 3 minutes, or until the cheese is melted, then serve.

Cowboy Casserole

From BettyCrocker.com.

  • 1 pound lean ground beef/turkey
  • 1 16 ounce can baked beans
  • 1/2 cup bbq sauce
  • 2 cups Bisquick mix
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat your oven to 425. Cook your ground meat in a skillet over medium-high heat until browned through, stirring occasionally, 5-7 minutes, then drain any excess grease.

Stir the beans and bbq sauce into the cooked meat and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches a boil. Transfer to a 2 quart casserole.

Meanwhile, combine the Bisquick, milk, and butter in a medium bowl, and stir until evenly combined. Once the meat mixture is in the casserole, drop the Bisquick dough onto the top in 12 spoonfuls.

Bake 18-22 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake an additional 3 minutes, or until the cheese is melted, then serve.

 

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Marlow

A marlow is an old, frozen dessert made in part by melting marshmallows. My guess, then, is that marlow is a contraction of marshmallow, but I can’t promise that that’s correct! I’ve made both chocolate marlow, which tastes like a Wendy’s Frosty, and a banana one, which tastes…banana-y, but you can also leave it just vanilla. It has the texture of a soft ice cream, and somehow the flavor becomes richer once frozen than before.

Ingredients:

  • 30 (regular size) marshmallows
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • flavorings as desired (2 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted; 2 well-mashed bananas)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

Combine the marshmallows and milk in a large saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the marshmallows are completely dissolved.

Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and melted chocolate or banana, if desired.

2 bananas that had been in a bag in the freezer for a while, smooshed.

2 bananas that had been in a bag in the freezer for a while, thawed and smooshed.

 

The banana’s in there!

Transfer to a container and refrigerate until it begins to gel, 30-45 minutes.

Once the marshmallow mixture has begun to set, whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks.

Gently fold the marshmallow mixture into the whipped cream.

chocolate banana Cover, freeze several hours, and enjoy!

The banana one would go delightfully with some fudge sauce!

Marlow

From The New Art of Modern Cooking.

  • 30 (regular size) marshmallows
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • flavorings as desired (2 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted; 2 well-mashed bananas)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

Combine the marshmallows and milk in a large saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the marshmallows are completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and melted chocolate or banana, if desired. Transfer to a container and refrigerate until it begins to gel, 30-45 minutes.

Once the marshmallow mixture has begun to set, whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks. Gently fold the marshmallow mixture into the whipped cream, then cover and freeze several hours.

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Country Bread with Apples

A good way to use up some of the random flours in the pantry, plus an excuse to crack a bottle of sparkling cider, discover it doesn’t have the little plastic lid for re-sealing, and chug half you don’t need for the bread while standing in your kitchen. This bread has a good crisp crust, and the inside is light but sturdy enough to stand up to both slicing and being spread with brie. The cider provides a sort of sharpness to the dough, and the apples, even though you use tart ones, provide some sweetness.

Due to the various rising times, during normal life this bread is probably best started on a Friday or Saturday evening and finished over a leisurely weekend morning, but during lockdown life…does it even really matter?

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 cups sparkling cider (such as Martinelli’s), at room temperature
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (I have white whole wheat, so it’s ok if your dough looks a bit darker colored than mine)
  • 1 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2/3 cup rye flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups finely chopped green apples, about 1 large Granny Smith apple

In a large bowl, stir the yeast into the warm water and let sit 5 minutes.

Stir in the cider.

Add all three flours and the sea salt, and stir together until it forms a shaggy dough.

Turn out onto a clean surface and knead until it forms a smooth dough.

Grease your bowl, then put the dough in the bowl, rotating to cover lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Remove the bowl from the fridge, placing it in a warm spot, such as the oven with just the light on, until room temperature, about 2 hours.

Gently deflate the dough, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Flour your hands, then flatten the dough. Sprinkle a handful of apples over the dough, fold the dough over the apples, flatten again, then repeat until all the apples have been worked into the dough. Shape the dough into a ball.

Never cut directly on a silpat or you’ll damage the heat-proof coating!

Wash, dry, and grease your bowl, then place the dough ball back in, again rolling to cover lightly in oil, and finishing with the smooth/nice side of the dough ball up. Cover the bowl with a damp towel, then place a dry towel on top. I used just a paper towel for the wet one, it was fine. Return the bowl to your warm place and let rise until the dough is doubled, and a slight indentation remains in the dough if you press it, 2-3 hours.

Deflate the dough and turn back out to the lightly floured surface. Dough may be moist because of the apples. Flour either a banneton (special bread shaping basket), or a bowl lined with a kitchen towel. Shape the dough into a tight ball and place, rounded-side-down, into the banneton/bowl.

Cover again with a damp towel, and let rise until doubled, 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

During the final rise time, preheat oven to 450 degrees, heating a baking stone on the middle rack if you have one. Fill a clean spray bottle with water. Once the dough is ready, remove the baking stone. Dust the baking stone, or a baking sheet, with cornmeal to prevent sticking, and turn the dough out of its banneton/bowl onto it. Cut two 1/2″ deep slashes across the dough with a damp serrated knife.

Place the baking stone/sheet in the oven and quickly spray a handful of squirts of water into the oven. Bake 3 minutes, then crack the door just enough to quickly spray a bit more water. Bake an additional 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 400 and bake another 20-25 minutes. When the bread is a deep brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, it’s fully baked.

Cool fully on a wire rack before slicing.

If you’re newish to bread baking, a few things to know are that both using the baking stone (also called a pizza stone) and adding steam (via your squirt bottle) during baking help produce a crusty bread. Every time you open the oven door, the temperature goes down, so you don’t want to do it just for the heck of things, or because of curiosity. If bread is sliced while it’s still hot, or even warm, lots of the moisture in it escapes as steam, leading to a less pleasant texture once cooled, so if you don’t have enough people around to eat your entire loaf while still lot, it’s better to let it cool entirely before slicing it at all. You can always warm a slice back up in the toaster later! Finally, slashing the surface of the bread just prior to baking means that when the bread expands in the oven, which it will, you’ve already given it ‘fault lines’ to grow open, rather than just having the top split multiple places in squiggly lines as the pressure builds.

Country Bread with Apples

Adapted from NYT Cooking.

  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 cups sparkling cider (such as Martinelli’s), at room temperature
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2/3 cup rye flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups finely chopped green apples, about 1 large Granny Smith apple

In a large bowl, stir the yeast into the warm water and let sit 5 minutes. Add the cider, then all three flours and the sea salt. Stir together until it forms a shaggy dough, then turn out onto a clean surface and knead until it forms a smooth dough. Grease your bowl, then put the dough in the bowl, rotating to cover lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Remove the bowl from the fridge, placing it in a warm spot, such as the oven with just the light on, until room temperature, about 2 hours. Gently deflate the dough, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Flour your hands, then flatten the dough. Sprinkle a handful of apples over the dough, fold the dough over the apples, flatten again, then repeat until all the apples have been worked into the dough. Shape the dough into a ball.

Wash, dry, and grease your bowl, then place the dough ball back in, again rolling to cover lightly in oil, and finishing with the smooth/nice side of the dough ball up. Cover the bowl with a damp towel, then place a dry towel on top. I used just a paper towel for the wet one, it was fine. Return the bowl to your warm place and let rise until the dough is doubled, and a slight indentation remains in the dough if you press it, 2-3 hours.

Deflate the dough and turn back out to the lightly floured surface. Dough may be moist because of the apples. Flour either a banneton, or a bowl lined with a kitchen towel. Shape the dough into a tight ball and place, rounded-side-down, into the banneton/bowl. Cover again with a damp towel, and let rise until doubled, 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

During the final rise time, preheat oven to 450 degrees, heating a baking stone on the middle rack if you have one. Fill a clean spray bottle with water. Once the dough is ready, remove the baking stone. Dust the baking stone, or a baking sheet, with cornmeal to prevent sticking, and turn the dough out of its banneton/bowl onto it. Cut two 1/2″ deep slashes across the dough with a damp serrated knife. Place the baking stone/sheet in the oven and quickly spray a handful of squirts of water into the oven. Bake 3 minutes, then crack the door just enough to quickly spray a bit more water. Bake an additional 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 400 and bake another 20-25 minutes. When the bread is a deep brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, it’s fully baked.

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