Homemade Cheese Crackers

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The cool beach tote in this picture was designed by my son David. Check out his Instagram page @davidmacomber_dotcom

I associate going to the beach with snacks.  Oh, who am I kidding, I associate everything with snacks:)!  I purchased some adorable miniature nautical cutters on Amazon a few weeks ago.  I had grand visions of using them to make cute little cupcake toppers (they are twirling around in my head with all my other grand visions).  My fellow foodies know what I’m talking about, right?

I have been wanting to make homemade cheese crackers, so I thought “Why not use those little cutters you ordered?”.  I had some cheese powder I wanted to use and I’m glad I did.  It really enhances the cheezie flavor!

So if you have a rainy day and you want to check making homemade cheese crackers off your list, give these a try.  You don’t have to use shaped cutters.  You can use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to make little squares to look like those cheese crackers you buy in a box (only your homemade crackers will taste so much better…just saying!).

        Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (120 grams)
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese powder (24 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed (63 grams)
  • Extra-sharp cheddar cheese, (173 grams) preferably orange
  • 3 tablespoons ice water
  • Kosher salt, for sprinkling (optional)

    Instructions:

    Whisk the flour, cheese powder, salt, paprika, and garlic powder in a medium bowl. Add the cubed butter and place in the freezer until ready to use.

    Grate the cheese (I use a box grater). Transfer the cheese to the flour mixture in a food processer.

    Pulse to a coarse crumb, about 10 (1-second) pulses.

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    Add the water and process until the dough forms a ball, (this takes about 20 seconds).

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    Remove the dough from the food processor and form into a rectangle. Place between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll out to a 12×16-inch rectangle that is 1/8-inch thick so that it just fits onto a standard baking sheet.

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    Slide the dough, still sandwiched between parchment, onto a baking sheet. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F.

    Remove the top sheet of parchment paper and use it to line a second baking sheet.  If you want to square crackers, use a ruler and a pizza cutter to cut 1-inch squares in the dough. Use a toothpick to make a hole in the center of each cracker. This will keep the crackers from puffing up in the center. Alternatively, cut shapes out with mini cookie cutters like I did.

    Use a bench scraper or mini offset spatula to transfer about half of the crackers to the other parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving 1/4- to 1/2-inch between each cracker.

    Refrigerate the remaining cracker dough.  Sprinkle the crackers very lightly with salt if desired. Bake until the corners and the bottoms of the crackers are lightly browned and the tops appear dry, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the crackers to a cooling rack. (If you used cookie cutters, gather the dough scraps, re-roll, and cut out more crackers.) Repeat with baking the remaining dough.

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    Look at all that yumminess!

    To make sure your crackers stay crisp after baking, consolidate them onto 1 baking sheet.  Return them to the cooling oven and allow them to “dry” for 6-8 hours.  Store crackers in an airtight container.

    I hope you make these crackers, and if you do, please tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi.  I would love to hear from you and see your photos:).

 

Savory Galette

How can something so rustic taste so amazing?!!
A galette is a French pastry that’s similar to a pie or a tart.  Basically, it’s pastry dough that’s wrapped over a filling (either fruit or vegetables and cheese).  Like pastry, this free- form pie doesn’t require any fancy pie plates or special pans, just a flat surface for baking (like a cookie sheet).

Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (190 grams)
  • 1/4 cup (28g) cheese powder, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped, optional
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped (I use Greek thyme), optional
  • 8 tablespoons (113g) unsalted butter, frozen and grated
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons (70g to 85g) water,  ice cold

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 large zucchini, sliced into 1/4″ discs
  • 2 teaspoons herb seasoning*
  • 1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3/4 cup (170g) ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest, optional
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 egg yolk beaten (with 2 teaspoons of water)

Make the crust:

Grate the frozen butter and place in the freezer until ready for use.

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Whisk together the dry ingredients.  Add the freshly chopped herbs to the dry ingredients (if you are using them, this is optional).

Work the butter into the flour mixture until crumbly. 

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Drizzle in 5 tablespoons of water, stirring gently until everything is evenly moistened; add the final tablespoon of water if necessary to make a cohesive dough.  Don’t overwork your dough or it will lose it’s flakiness.

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Pat the dough into a disk, wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

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Make the filling:

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets (or line with parchment paper).

Slice the zucchini into 1/4 inch discs, and cut tomatoes in half.

Place the zucchini slices on one pan and sprinkle with seasoning mix.

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Place the tomato halves on the second pan and sprinkle with seasoning mix.

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Roast the zucchini and tomatoes until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes for the zucchini and 10 to 15 minutes for the tomatoes.

Remove the zucchini and tomatoes from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Combine the ricotta, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and egg in a bowl.  Refrigerate until ready.

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On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a 12″ circle.

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Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Spread the ricotta mixture over the dough, leaving a 2″-wide bare strip along the perimeter.

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Sprinkle the goat cheese on top of the ricotta, grate on 1/2 the parmesan cheese, then shingle the zucchini slices over the cheese and place the tomato halves on top.

Fold the bare edges of the dough into the center.

Brush the edges of the crust with egg wash, and sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the whole galette.

Bake the galette for 25 to 30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.

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Remove the galette from the oven and allow it to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!!!

*Herb seasoning

1 teaspoon each:

  • dried oregano
  • dried basil
  • dried onion flakes
  • garlic powder
  • thyme
  • fennel seeds
  • paprika
  • black pepper
  • Himalayan sea salt

Stir together in a small bowl.  Save leftover seasoning in an airtight container for later use.

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Seasoning Mix

I hope you make this delicious galette.  If you do, please tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi.  I would love to hear from you and see your pictures:)!

 

Sourdough Bread

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My beautiful fish cutting board was made by my son David:).

I think making homemade bread is very gratifying.  I used to make bread in my bread maker…a LOT!  I mean, like once a week, a lot:).

I started making bread in my Dutch oven at the beginning of this year.  This no knead rustic bread is the easiest bread to make, and so delicious!  Check out my post on this amazing bread Herb No Knead Dutch Oven Bread. 

This brings me to this post on sourdough bread.  I have been seeing so many posts on Instagram and YouTube videos about sourdough starters and bread.  I knew it was something I wanted to make.  Remember when I said I wanted to challenge myself in my baking this year?  Well, sourdough bread, challenge accepted!

A few weeks ago my daughter asked me if I would like some sourdough starter.  Her friend had some discard that she wanted to share with me.  Thank you Emily Davis for sharing:).

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Let me introduce you to Van Dough:)

I did my homework on sourdough starters.  I was really getting all up in my head about feeding and discarding.  I couldn’t believe I was “afraid” of this fermenting beast!  I mean, making bread is supposed to be fun, right?!

After I received my starter I immediately put it in the refrigerator.  There it sat for about a week.  Every time I opened the refrigerator, there he was (I named him Van Dough), staring back at me.  Taunting me.  Mocking me.  “It’s just fermenting yeast” I told myself.  It’s like the fear I used to have about anything “yeast”.

I removed that starter from the refrigerator, and carefully followed the instructions that came with it.  Discard all but 25 grams and then add 50 grams of all-purpose flour and 50 grams of water.  There, that wasn’t so bad, was it?  Nope!

I feed Van with King Arthur all-purpose flour and water that is filtered from my refrigerator.  The first time I discarded and fed my starter, I left it on the counter and it more than doubled in size within a couple of hours.  I use the rubber band technique to keep track of this process.

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Save that discard, there are some pretty awesome recipes to use it up…that’s a whole other post.

Check out my Sourdough pancakes recipe (you’ll be glad you did).

It was time to make my first loaf of sourdough bread.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter (120 grams)
  • 1 cup lukewarm water (240 grams) between 98°-105° F
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (27 grams)
  • 2 3/4 cups bread flour (377 grams)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • Cooking spray or olive oil to grease bowl

Making the dough:

Make sure your starter is active by dropping a teaspoonful into a glass of water.  If it floats, it’s ready to use.  Not all bakers swear by this method, but it works for me.

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Look how beautiful and bubbly!
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Your starter will float on top when it’s ready.

In a large bowl mix your starter, water, and olive oil together.


Add the flour and salt and mix together by hand.


Form a ball of dough with your hand that cleans the bottom of the bowl.
Place the dough in a greased bowl and allow it to ferment. Cover with cling wrap and put it in a warm place for 12-18 hours.  I like to make my dough the night before and let it proof overnight.  This is called bulk fermentation (as explained by King Arthur Flour). Bulk fermentation (also called the first rise or primary fermentation) is one of the most important steps of yeast bread baking. It begins right when mixing ends and lasts until the dough is divided and preshaped. The name signifies exactly what it is: the step when the dough is fermenting in a large, single mass.  Thanks King Arthur Flour!

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This is my dough after 16 hours. Look at those beautiful bubbles!!

Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on the counter (lightly flour the surface if needed) and fold the dough over itself.

On a flourless surface, shape the dough into a ball by pushing the dough against the surface, pulling it towards you to make it round and smooth.


Place the dough in a proofing basket that has been generously dusted with flour.  The dough seams should be facing you with the smooth side down.

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Cover proofing basket with a tea towel or cloth cover.


Proof the dough for roughly 2 -2 ½ hours or until the bread has risen to almost double in size.  Once the dough is well risen and feels almost lighter and not as heavy,  it’s time to bake it off.

Place Dutch oven (with lid on) in cold oven. Preheat your oven to 450°F.

Gently turn the dough out onto a lightly floured parchment paper. If needed, you can carefully make it round again by pushing the seams underneath.


Score the bread on top with a sharp knife or scoring tool.  You can get fancy with this (in time I will), but I just make a single score.  This allows the steam to escape so your bread doesn’t burst while baking.


Turn down the oven to 400°F and gently place your bread into the preheated Dutch oven (be very careful!).
Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on.  After 30 minutes remove the lid.  The bread will have started to puff up and will be a light golden color.

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You’re almost there. Look how pretty!

Continue to bake for 20-30 minutes until your loaf is a dark golden brown.  The smell that will be wafting through your house will be heavenly!

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How pretty is that?!!

Cool the bread completely before cutting.  Enjoy!!

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Congratulations! You just made sourdough bread from scratch!

I really hope you make this recipe.  If you do, please tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi.  I would love to see your pictures and hear some feedback!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

English Muffins

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When I was a little girl, my mom would buy Thomas’® English muffins.  They weren’t something she bought all the time,  so when they were in house, it was a treat.

I would always toast mine, and I would slather one side of my muffin with peanut butter and the other side with jelly.  I loved the way the peanut butter would nestle down into the famous “nooks and crannies”.

Fast forward to the present.  I still love English muffins.  I still like to toast them, and instead of peanut butter, I slather them with butter and jelly (homemade strawberry is the best!).  You won’t want or need to toast these amazing muffins.  Eating them fresh and warm is the way to go!

My youngest grandson Emerson loves English muffins and strawberry jam, so I thought it would be fun to make him some!

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (355 grams)
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cups milk (160 grams)
1/2 cups water (120 grams)
1 tablespoon butter

Instructions:

In large bowl whisk flour,  yeast and salt.  Set aside.

In a saucepan warm the milk, water and butter on low heat just until the butter melts. It should not be real hot!!

Pour almost all of the milk mixture into the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon.  If the dough is too dry, add the remaining milk.  The dough should be a little sticky and you should be able to form a shaggy ball.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm area.  The dough will sit for 12-18 hours (I usually start the dough the night before making them).   This is the fermentation period and the reason you don’t have to knead the bread.  This also gives the muffins all those “nooks and crannies”.

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Look at all those beautiful bubbles!

Place the dough on a floured surface.

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Sprinkle a little flour on top.  Cover with a linen towel and let rest for 10 minutes.

Roll the dough to about 3/4″ thick.   Make sure to keep your rolling pin and work surface floured so the dough doesn’t stick.  The dough is a little sticky.

Using a 3″ round cutter, make 6-7 circles.  Place a couple of inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment and dusted with corn meal (you can use flour if you don’t have corn meal).   Cover with a towel and allow to rest for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes the muffins will be a little puffy.

Heat a large non-stick pan over medium-medium/low heat.  Gently place 3 muffins in the pan (being careful not to deflate them).  Cover with a lid (this helps to steam them), and cook for 7-8 minutes.  Remove the lid and turn the muffins over.  Cook for another 3-4 minutes.  The sides will be soft, but not sticky.  Place on a cooling rack to cool.

I like to fork split my muffins.

Place on a plate and cover with a generous amount of butter and homemade strawberry jam.  YUM!!!

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I hope you make these delicious English muffins and if you do, tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi.  I would love to see your pictures:).