Super Mom – No Cape!

One mother sharing her knowledge with others

Freezer Cooking Days

Posted by supermom on February 27, 2010

WOW, it’s been two months since I last posted.  It’s definitely time to do some catching up. I’ve got some projects that I’ve been working on and hope to get those posted over the next little while.

But in the meantime, Crystal over at MoneySavingMom and Jessica at LifeAsMom are once again hosting their freezer cooking days and since I’d planned to do some baking and some make ahead meals anyway, I decided to join in.

They are going to be doing the majority of their cooking and baking on March 1 and 2nd, but I’m going to be stretching my cooking/baking out over the next four days.

Here’s what I’m working on today:

Honey Bran Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

The first time I made this bread I followed the recipe exactly but over time I’ve adapted it to include more white whole wheat.  As well, since I used active dry yeast rather than instant yeast, I have decreased the amount of milk by one cup and prove my yeast in 1 c of warm water with a little sugar.  Recently, I started adding vital wheat gluten.

So here is my version of this bread:

1 c warm water

1 ½ tbsp active dry yeast

1 tsp sugar

Mix together and allow to sit for at least 5 minutes until bubbly.

4 c all purpose flour

1 c oat bran

1 c wheat bran

2 tbsp vital wheat gluten

Stir above 4 ingredients together in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center.

Add:

2 tbsp olive oil

1/3 c honey

4 c milk heated until warm

Mix thoroughly, then add yeast mixture.

Next, stir in between 6 and 8 c of white wheat flour until you have a shaggy mess.  (The amount will vary depending on how much humidity you have.) Turn out onto floured surface and knead for 5 to 7 minutes adding flour as you go until your dough is smooth and elastic.

Allow to rest for 20 minutes.  This is called autolyse and Susan from A Year in Bread explains it  this way:

“Autolyse (pronounced AUTO-lees and used as both a noun and a verb) is a French word that refers to a rest period given to dough during the kneading process. When making your dough, mix together only the water, yeast, flour, and grains until it forms a shaggy mass. Knead it for several minutes, and then cover the dough and let it rest for 20 minutes. (I simply leave the dough on the floured counter and put my wooden bowl over it.) During this time, the gluten will relax and the dough will absorb more water, smoothing itself out so that it is moist and easier to shape. After the autolyse, knead the dough for several more minutes, mixing in any other ingredients such as herbs or nuts or dried fruit.”

Once your dough has rested, knead in 2 tbsp of sea salt, 1 tbsp at a time and then continue to knead for another 5 minutes.  Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat and cover and let rise until double.  I put mine in my microwave.  It makes a great little proofing box.

Another change that I’ve made to the original; I discovered quite by accident.   One day while making bread, I started not feeling well and needed to lay down for a bit but the bread was ready to be punched down.  Rather than form it into loaves I punched the dough down and let it rise again.  Those loaves, when I finally was feeling well enough to finish baking them, came out with a markedly better texture and had much less of a tendency to be crumby when cut.

So now, I allow my bread to rise three times.  In other words, I let it rise, bunch it down, let it rise again and then punch it down again before forming it into loaves.  And then, I let those loaves rise until double before baking in a 375 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes.

Also, a note for those of you who are using fresh farm milk, if you have milk that sours before it can be used, don’t throw that milk away.  Use it in this or other bread recipes.  Depending on how sour your milk is, it will give your bread a mild sour dough flavour without having to use a sourdough starter.

Lasagna and Lasagna Roll Ups

And then later today, I’m going to be making a large pan of lasagna for supper.  Half for supper tonight and lunch tomorrow and half of which, I’ll freeze.

I’m actually going to double the recipe and with the extra sauce, etc… make lasagna roll ups to freeze in single and double serving sizes for nights when only one or two of us are home to eat supper.

As well, we have been trying to eat at least one vegetarian meal each week… so I plan on cooking enough extra lasagna noodles to make some vegetarian lasagna roll ups to freeze.

I’ll post updates with pictures later today.

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