I've often heard children say, "There's nothing to do today". I beg to differ. I'd like to inspire you to do something. Anything. Read. Bake. Hike. Fish. Plant. Sail. Climb. Play. Reach. Move. Laugh. Dream; and take time to sit with me on The Old Granite Step.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

My cast iron pans and some delicious bread recipes.

Several years ago, my husband decided to "collect" cast iron pans.  I love them for baking!

He hasn't gone overboard like some people; he only collects what he'll actually use.  I think it started with a Griswold #8 frying pan.  It's a convenient size and most recently I used it to bake bread in.  It worked perfectly and contrary to popular belief, these pans are very easy to clean and season.

I've been making a lot of Ricotta cheese and there's usually quite a bit of whey left.  You can find my recipe for Ricotta here.  Whey is too good to put down the drain, so I decided to make some bread with a recipe using whey. 
Begin by mixing 1 3/4 cups of whey with 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of honey (local is better).  Add  3 3/8 teaspoons of yeast.  I prefer to buy the jar of yeast as opposed to the packets.  In a separate bowl, combine 2 cups of white flour with 2 cups of whole wheat flour.
I like to use King Arthur Flour because it's from Vermont.
Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients.
Mix well, then knead for approximately 5 minutes.  Shape into a small ball of dough.

Lightly grease your pan.
Let your dough rise right in the pan. 
Cover and let rise for about 2 hours.
The dough should double in size.
Sprinkle with flour.  I used whole wheat.
Put into a 350 degree oven and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Time to slice into the warm bread.
It's mildly crunchy on the outside and wonderfully moist on the inside.

Serve with a spread of home made ricotta; delicious!
We have several different corn bread pans.  This one is from Lodge.

Our favorite one, however, is the pan that produces "corn" shaped corn bread.  Also from Lodge.  Both pans are still available.

This is a very simple corn bread recipe originally from Country Living Magazine.
Begin by heating the oven to 425 degrees; heating the corn bread pan while you mix the ingredients.  Grate 3/4 cup of pepper jack cheese.
You are going to mix the cheese with 1 8 oz. box of Jiffy Corn muffin mix....
.... 3/4 cup of creamed corn....
....and two eggs.
Mix until blended.  Do not over mix.
This is my favorite corn bread pan and I'm lucky enough to have two of them.  Spread melted butter on each mold.
Put approximately 2 tablespoons of batter into each mold.
Bake at 425 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool and carefully remove from the pan.  Pan will be hot!
Serve warm with butter!  Yummy.
We also use our Griswold #7 quite a bit.  Just a little smaller than the #8.
This dutch oven has a long history with our family.  It's been used over many a campfire!
This is a terrific old recipe for bread baked in the dutch oven that I'll share with you in a future post.

The bread easily comes out of the dutch oven.  You'll just need to wipe the cornmeal out and season the pan for next time.  These pans should never be immersed in cold water when hot.  After we wash our pans, we season them by rubbing bacon grease on the pan and heating it on the stove.  You don't need a lot of grease; just enough to coat the pan for next time.
This is the largest cast iron pan that we own.  It's 15" and is great for stew, paella or anything you cook in large quantities!

Are you hungry yet?

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