250 Cookbooks: Our Favorite Recipes

Cookbook #190: Our Favorite Recipes, compiled by the Student Letter Exchange, Walter’s Publishing Company, RFD 4, Waseca, Minnesota, circa early 1970s.

Our Favorite Recipes cookbook

I am clueless as to how this book entered my collection – maybe it was my mother-in-law’s, maybe it was at Walnetto in Boulder where we lived for a year or so.

Our Favorite Recipes is a community cookbook; Google Books lists one similar to mine. I have 8 such cookbooks, as discussed in my post on Menu Melodies. My copy of Our Favorite Recipes does not have any handwritten notes in it, or even food stains. I guessed the publication date from the page below, which lists (among other curious facts) “23 years of dates on which Easter Sunday falls”:

Easter Sundays

This timetable for roasting turkeys might be more helpful if they gave the temperature setting for the oven:

turkey roasting

Just in case you need to know the name of that piece of silverware in the drawer:

silver flatware

And there is more! I giggle over most of the page below, but the amounts in cans is actually quite useful. Some older recipes call for a “No. 1 can” of an ingredient, a nomenclature only rarely used these days.


Another canned foods conversion table:

canned food sizes

Our Favorite Recipes chapters include appetizers, bread and rolls, cake and cookies, desserts, jellies and jams, main dishes, soups and salads, vegetables, and miscellaneous. What can I say about the recipes? They reflect the cooking of America in the 1960s. Lots of canned soups and fruits, lots of sugar and shortening. I have a hard time finding a recipe I’d even like to try for this blog. I kind of wanted to try the recipe for Pfefferneusse Cookies, as I was reminded of this old favorite of mine when I covered volume 9 of the Encyclopedia of Cooking. But, the recipe calls for 4 pounds of sorghum. Hmmm.

pfefferneusse cookies

Bumsteads! A bumstead is tuna salad and cheese mixture that is placed in hot dog or hoagie rolls, wrapped in foil, and baked. I used to love these! But I had forgotten what they were called and could not search for a recipe.


I decide to make “Monkey Bread”. I’ve made monkey bread before, but this recipe includes mashed potatoes, so I’d like to try it. Monkey bread is a yeast dough that is rolled out and cut into diamonds, dipped in butter, and put in a baking pan. It can be sweet with the addition of cinnamon and sugar, or savory with the addition of garlic and herbs and cheese.

Monkey Bread recipeI think there is a bit too much sugar in this recipe, I prefer butter to shortening (and less), I will use active dry yeast yeast, I want to make only half a recipe, and I want to use my breadmaker. My version of this recipe is below.

Monkey Bread
makes one loaf

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup cooked potatoes (I boiled a potato and mashed it; you could use leftover mashed potatoes)
  • scant 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups flour (may need a little more)
  • additional melted butter for dipping dough pieces before baking

Put all ingredients in the bowl of a breadmaker. Set to a dough cycle with a rising step. As the dough kneads, you might have to add a bit more flour. (I added a couple tablespoons of flour to make a smooth dough.)

When the rising cycle is completed, roll the dough out to about 1/2-inch thickness. Melt about 1/4 cup butter. Cut the dough into diamond shapes about 2-inches long. Dip the dough pieces into the melted butter, and put them in a pan (I recommend a bundt pan rather than a large loaf pan – see my photo below). Let rise in pan about 30 minutes (although I am not sure this step is necessary).

Bake at 375˚ for 25-30 minutes, or until well browned.

Monkey BreadAs you can see, my bread rose crazily! That’s why I suggest a bundt pan next time. Usually a 9×5-inch loaf pan is big enough for 2 1/2 cups flour – but this time it obviously wasn’t!

This monkey bread was delicious. Soft and buttery. Yes, I’d make this recipe again, but I’d cook it in a bundt pan.

Shall I keep this cookbook? Not sure. I’ve scanned in the pages I want, so I may recycle it.

250 Cookbooks: KitchenAid

Cookbook #187: KitchenAid, KitchenAid Portable Appliances, MI, circa 1991.

KitchenAid cookbook

My KitchenAid mixer was a gift from my husband, and wow, have I ever used (and loved) this mixer! I call it “Big Bertha” everytime I lift it out of the lower cabinet below my work surface. I have considered replacing it with a new model, but dang, I have no complaints with how this one works. It’s about 25 years old (I wrote “Model KSM90, 12/91” on the inside cover of my KitchenAid booklet). The only part I’ve replaced is one of the beaters (our water ate through the inside metal). Sometime last year, my handy husband took the mixer apart and fixed a broken cross shank in the drive shaft (he made the replacement part himself).

This KitchenAid replaced my Sunbeam Mixer, which I wrote about in this post. Before I got a bread machine, I used the KitchenAid with the dough hook attachment to knead yeast dough. Currently, I use this mixer for cookies, cakes, muffins, quick breads, and other general mixing tasks.

The KitchenAid booklet has maybe 100 recipes in recipes 5 chapters. I start with the first, “Appetizers, Entrees, and Vegetables”, but none of the recipes entice me or offer anything not already in my repertoire. In the “Cakes, Frostings, and Candies” chapter, I might like the Double Chocolate Pound Cake if I ever want a very chocolatey cake baked in my (new) bundt pan. I have used the Angel Food Cake recipe quite a bit – often when I have egg whites leftover from making custard ice cream. I know I’d like the Divinity, a candy my mother used to make. The fudge recipe is interesting because it is made from a cooked sugar mixture that is beat for 8 minutes, like a true candy.

For me, the “Cookies and Quick Breads” chapter repeats recipes I already have. One note: I’d like the Vanilla Custard Filling that is included with the cream puffs recipe. In “Pies and Pastries”, I find a recipe I’d like to try: Country Pear Pie.

Now we come to the “Yeast Bread” chapter. The mixer-kneading techniques dilineated helped me develop my current breadmaking skills, as discussed in My Daily Bread. I have notes throughout this chapter! I do remember the French Bread recipe – I tried to duplicate store bought baguettes with only so-so results for many years, until I discovered the no-knead method (see also Artisan Bread). The recipe for Basic Sweet Dough is a good one to have in my repertoire; I have used it to make Cinnamon Swirl Rounds in muffin tins. I have made (and should make again!) the Honey Oatmeal Bread. I’d like to try the Dutch Apple Bread because it uses fresh apple in a dough that is rolled around a cinnamon sugar filling. Orange Breakfast Bread is rich, but interesting to me because it is filled with an orange marmalade-ricotta cheese mixture and baked in a bundt pan.

I decide to make Sixty-Minute Rolls for this blog. These are basic yeast dinner rolls that are ready in 60 minutes, with only 2 15-minute rises and then a 12 minute bake. Might be nice to have such a quick recipe in my repertoire.

60 Minute Rolls recipe

How long will it really take me to make these? I’ll check the clock when I start!

Sixty-Minute Rolls
makes 1 dozen

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2-2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 scant tablespoon yeast

Combine the milk, water, and butter in a small sauce pan (or microwave) and heat until warm (the butter does not need to melt).

Stir together 1 3/4 cups of the flour with the sugar, salt, and yeast in the big bowl of a mixer. Using a dough hook (if possible) or the regular beater, add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and beat on low speed about a minute.

Continue beating on low speed while adding enough of the remaining flour (1/4 – 3/4 cup flour) so that the dough clings to the beater and cleans the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes. Then, mix on low speed about 3-5 minutes.

Cover the bowl and let rise in a warm place for 15 minutes. Grease or Pam-spray a muffin pan.

Turn the dough onto a floured board and fold over several times. Divide the dough into 12 equal sized pieces (I used the scale to help). Roll each into a smooth ball and place in the muffin tin. Slice an “X” across the top of each bun. (Or, make cloverleaf or curlicue shapes as in the original recipe in the above scan.)

Let rise in a warm place for 15 minutes. (Cover if possible.) Bake at 425˚ for 12 minutes.

Here is my KitchenAid, mixing the dough:

my KitchenAidHere are the rolls, ready for the oven after the first rise. They rose to just above the top of the muffin tin.

60 minute rolls, unbakedAnd here are the golden brown rolls, baked:

baked 60 minute rolls


How long did these take from start to finish? 65 minutes. But about 5 minutes of that time was me looking for my dough hook. Never found it! It’s gotta be somewhere. I used the regular beater instead and it worked fine.

The dough mixed about 8 minutes in the KitchenAid. It was noisy! I am so used to my breadmachine doing a quiet kneading.

I did not cover the rolls during the rising step. In my experience, both plastic wrap and towels stick to rising dough. Even though the dough dried out a bit, they turned out fine.

I am not satisfied with the KitchenAid method for the second 15 minute rise in a “slightly warm 90˚ oven”. My oven does have a very low setting, 100˚, but I only have one oven and needed to be heating it to 425˚ for the baking step. I set them in the 100˚ oven for 15 minutes, then took them out and heated the oven to 425˚ and popped the rolls into the oven as soon as it reached temperature, about 5 minutes. I re-wrote the instructions to just have the second rise “in a warm place”. Like, on top of the oven that is heating to 425˚. I am sure it will work.

Taste? These rolls are good, especially hot out of the oven. With butter melting into them. I will keep this recipe in my repertoire for those times I have not planned ahead and need dinner rolls in 60 minutes!

60 minute rollNote: I put the extra rolls in the freezer. A week later, I need bread for a dinner, so I popped three in the microwave on high for 60 seconds. Perfect! Now these are “60 second 60 minute rolls”.

Anadama Bread


Dammit, I made a mistake! I took Healthy Bread Recipes off the shelf and chose a recipe for “Anadama Bread” to make for this blog. Only after I had made the bread did I discover my mistake: I’ve already covered this cookbook!

The bread was very very good, so I decided to go ahead and share the recipe.

I love the name for this bread: “Anadama” from “Anna, damn her!” According to Healthy Bread Recipes:

“Colonial American folk stories about the name Anadama accredit Anna’s husband for this bread. The hungry fisherman returned home to find Anna gone and a supper of cornmeal mush and molasses. The legend is he cursed her while preparing his own bread from the meal.”

(Wikipedia gives a slightly different version of the legend.)

This bread has a rich and hearty flavor, and is great in sandwiches, as peanut butter toast, with stews and spaghetti. It’s good and healthy enough to qualify as a “daily bread“, and it makes me wonder why I don’t vary my old standby more often.

Anadama Bread
makes 1 9×5-inch loaf

  • 1 1/8 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal (I used old-fashioned oatmeal)
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal (I used a coarse-grind type, Bob’s Red Mill medium grind)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons molasses (1 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (5.3 ounces; not white whole wheat flour)
  • 2 cups bread flour (10.6 ounces)
  • 2 tablepsoons gluten flour
  • 1/4 cup dry milk
  • 2 teaspoons yeast

(This recipe is written for a bread machine.)

With the bread machine off off, put the boiling water in the pan, then add the oatmeal and cornmeal and stir to mix. Let stand 20 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients and select a dough cycle that has a rising step. When the cycle is complete, remove the dough and place in a large loaf pan.

I baked my loaf at 385˚ for 25 minutes; the bread did not look done and I when tested it with an instant read thermometer, it was about 145˚. The loaf was already pretty brown so I turned the oven down to 350˚ and baked for another 20 minutes. It tested close to 198˚ and was perfect. Well, it rose a little too high! But the texture was great throughout.

Anadama Bread

250 Cookbooks: The Bakery

Cookbook #184: The Bakery, New and Improved Recipes, Zojirushi America Corporation, Bell, California (circa 1980s).

The Bakery cookbook

This is the recipe/instruction booklet that came with my first bread machine, a Zojirushi, sometime in the 1980s. I enjoyed kneading breads by hand, but it took too much time for a working mom – with the machine I made yeast breads a lot more. In fact, for a time I had two bread machines and used them simultaneously, often to make a “My Daily Bread” loaf and a breakfast bread loaf or a pizza dough. I also felt I needed two machines because if one broke, I would have a backup.

My first Zojirushi machine (I still have it) made upright loaves (note the photo of the cover, above). This older Zojirushi model is particularly great at kneading and baking 100% whole wheat bread. I also have another Zojirushi (Home Bakery Supreme). It bakes loaves shaped like traditional loaves baked in an oven. I rarely bake my breads in the machine, but if I do, I prefer the traditional shape. (I usually use the machine to knead and rise the bread dough, then bake the loaf in an oven.)

My copy of The Bakery is very well used. It is wrinkled and full of writing and stains and post-it notes. The center pages are falling out. After all these decades, I still keep it in my kitchen with other oft-used references. The Zojirushi recipe for “Buttermilk Wheat Loaf” is the basis for “My Daily Bread“, a white whole wheat bread. Other favorites are 100% Whole Wheat Bread, Raisin Bread, and Apple Oat Bread. I used to make the Pizza Dough a lot. This recipe uses beer for the liquid, and includes oilive oil. I usually made it with part whole wheat flour and baked the pizza on a hot stone. (These days, I make thin crust pizza using a no-knead recipe.)

I know that any recipe I try from The Bakery will turn out. For this blog, I choose to make “Honey Wheat Berry Bread”. It’s one of the recipes in the scan below – I wanted to illustrate the condition of this booklet so I scanned the entire page:

Honey Wheat Berry Bread recipe

Although the title is “Honey Wheat Berry Bread”, the ingredient list calls for “cracked wheat”. What is cracked wheat? It is milled whole wheat grains or “wheat berries”. Over the years I have purchased several different forms of cracked wheat, sometimes labeled “bulghur”or “bulgur”. Different milling produces small particles or large particles. Long-cooking cracked wheat is large particles, and is good as a hot cereal, or can be used as a side dish or salad. Quick-cooking bulgur is made from wheat that has been pre-cooked. This type is often used for salads, like Tabouli (see my post on the book Diet for a Small Planet.)  I once found a wheat product called burghul or cracked wheat, similar to something we had in Turkey. That burghul took a long time to cook and was big and chewy.

I search my pantry, and find that this is what I have on hand:

Wheat Berries

Cracked Wheat

The wheat berries are sproutable, and I have used them to make Sprouted Wheat Bread. The Bob’s Red Mill whole grain red bulgur consists of fairly large grain particles; the cooking instructions say to soak in boiling water for 1 hour before use in recipes.

I decide to use the Bob’s Red Mill bulgur for my bread. I’d prefer a quicker-cooking cracked wheat, since this type will probably be a bit chewy, but the store is a long ways away! To soften it a bit, I decide to add it directly to the milk and let it sit 30 minutes before the kneading process.

I goofed and used butter instead of oil, but it turned out to be a good “mistake” so I kept it in my recipe below. Below is how I made Honey Cracked Wheat Bread, based on The Bakery recipe.

Honey Cracked Wheat Bread
makes one large loaf (9×5-inch)

  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey (1.5 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup cracked wheat
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/3 cups bread flour (17.5 ounces, I used King Arthur Flour unbleached bread flour)
  • 2 teaspoons yeast

Combine the milk, butter, honey, cracked wheat, and salt. Let stand 30 minutes. (My Zojirushi has a pre-warm dough cycle, so I just put everything in the breadmaker and started the “pre-warm dough cycle”.

Add the flour and yeast and set the bread machine to a kneaded dough cycle with a rising step.

When the cycle is complete, take the dough out, form a loaf, and place it in a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Let rise until it crests the top of the pan, about 20-30 minutes.

Bake at 385˚ for 22-25 minutes, until golden brown.

Honey Cracked Wheat BreadThis bread has an excellent flavor and a pleasant crunchy-chewiness. Not too chewy as I feared. Great for sandwiches, toast, and with stews and spaghetti. A success!

250 Cookbooks: All-Time Favorite Recipes (Better Homes and Gardens)

Cookbook #156: All-Time Favorite Recipes, Better Homes and Gardens, Gerald Knox (editor), Meredith Corporation, Des Moines, Iowa, 1979.

All-Time Favorite Recipes BHG cookbook

I like this book a lot! I don’t think I have ever looked at it before. It’s from my mother’s collection. This is on the inside cover:

Mother's inscription

That’s my mothers’s writing, and I’m pretty sure it says “from me March, 1981”. That made me smile. She bought it for herself and wrote a little inscription to mark that fact.

This cookbook has the type of recipes I grew up with, so I’m not surprised she chose this book for herself. She never worked outside the home, and thus her personal spending money was pretty special to her. So this is a special book to me.

All-Time Favorite Recipes is bound, rather than loose leaf like her Better Homes and Garden New Cook Book. It’s a big book: 480 pages! The introduction reads:

“Through the years, the editors of Better Homes and Gardens, like all good cooks, have collected a huge recipe file. In All-Time Faovrite Recipes, we have compiled for you the favorites of all the recipes we’ve published. Whether you are planning a meal for family or guests, you’ll find dishes for the entire meal in these pages. Choose a main dish from the meat, fish, poultry, or casserole pages. Or, for warm weather entrées, turn to the barbecue recipes. Complete your menu with dishes from the vegetable, salad, bread, and dessert sections. From one good cook to another, we give you our favorites.”

After this short intro the editor gets right into the recipes. On page 9, I find a recipe for Sauerbraten. Mother says it is “Delicious” and the “gravy is yummy!” You take a beef round rump roast, marinate in red wine vinegar, spices, and onions for 3 days, simmer a couple hours, and then add crushed gingersnaps. I bought gingersnaps for the first time in years just last weekend, with sauerbraten on my mind. I’ll try this recipe soon. She also liked the Pot Roast Dip Sandwiches on the same page. Other main dishes she favored are the Sicilian Meat Roll and Manicotti. The Tetrazzini Crepes on page 121 is the same recipe as in All-Time Favorite Casseroles, another Better Homes and Gardens book that I covered in this blog.

I think the recipe she used the most from this book is 24-Hour Vegetable Salad on page 248. The book opens easily to this page, like it’s been opened there a lot, she marked it “Delicious”, and I see a couple food stains on the page. This is a great large-potluck dish. The day before, you layer romaine, Swiss cheese, hard boiled eggs, cooked bacon, leaf lettuce, thawed frozen peas, mayonnaise, and green onions. The next day, toss and serve! (I found a similar recipe in the Carousel of Cultures Cookbook, so if I ever want such a salad, I’ll compare and contrast the two.) Mother liked a few of the other salad recipes, but not the “Cheesy Coleslaw Mold”. For that she says simply: “Do not make again”. Ha! I’d never try it in the first place!

The recipe I use for “Biscuits Supreme” is on page 390 with her notes, and she liked the whole wheat rolls. She marked the Banana Nut Bread “Delicious” – and I found that someone reviewing this cookbook on Amazon really liked this banana nut bread too. I’ll have to try this recipe sometime, it’s a bit different from the one I currently use.

That’s about all she marked in this cookbook. I made a list of about ten recipes I’d like to try. Good ideas in this old cookbook!

I decide to make Cinnamon Swirl Loaf for this blog.

Cinnamon Swirl Loaf recipeIn this recipe, a sweet and rich yeast bread dough is rolled around cinnamon and sugar before baking. I’ve tried swirled breads before, but after baking they always had big gaps in the swirls. Why? Because I always brushed butter onto the dough before the cinnamon and sugar. The butter sent the layers flying apart when the loaf was cooked. This recipe uses water (duh! says this chemist) to keep the dough layers together. I want to see if it works.

I plan to make a few changes: I want to use a breadmaker, I prefer butter over shortening, and I want raisins in the dough. Plus I’ll skip the glaze. And make just one loaf. Below is my adaptation of this recipe.

Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl Loaf
makes 1 9×5-inch loaf

for the bread

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, cut in small pieces
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 17 ounces bread flour or all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1/3 cup raisins

for the swirl

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Put the bread ingredients EXCEPT the raisins in the order given into a breadmaker and set to a dough cycle with a rising step. Watch the dough as it kneads and add a little flour or water if necessary. Add the raisins near the end of the kneading cycle – most breadmakers have a “beep” or such for adding raisins or nuts.

When the dough is ready, roll it into a 15×7-inch rectangle. Brush with water. Combine the 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon and sprinkle it over the dough. Starting from the short side, roll up jelly-roll style. Pinch the long edges and ends together to seal them (a little extra water helps seal the dough edges). Place seam side down in a greased 9×5-inch loaf pan.

Let rise just until the dough crowns above the edges of the pan, about a half hour. Bake at 350˚ for 45-50 minutes. (I used an instant read thermometer and baked until it tested close to 200˚).

Here is the dough rolled out. Note it is glistening a bit since I had just brushed it with water.

cinn swirl dough 1The cinnamon-sugar sprinkled on top:

cinnamon sugar sprinkled on doughNow the next photo isn’t terribly pretty. This bread about overflowed the pan on baking and leaned to one side. But it tasted great! Next time I make it, I will probably start with less milk and less flour or maybe less yeast (this is not written into the above recipe). I baked it at 375˚, and the crust was browner than I like; next time, I will bake it at 350˚. Otherwise, I will definitely make this again! The swirled layers stayed together, just like I wanted.

Cinnamon Swirl Loaf

250 Cookbooks: Healthy Bread Recipes

Cookbook #155: Healthy Bread Recipes, Salton/MAXIM Housewares, Inc., Mt. Prospect, IL, 1998.

Healthy Bread Recipes cookbook

Healthy Bread Recipes reminds me that I purchased a Breadman breadmaker around 1998. My second breadmaker, it was highly recommended by King Arthur Flour. I recall that it eventually died – a problem with the dough bucket paddles binding up. I replaced it with another Zojirushi in 2008. The Breadman brand is currently owned by Spectrum Brands Inc. I wrote about my thoughts on yeast breads and breadmachines in the post My Daily Bread.

Healthy Bread Recipes has less than 20 recipes. But since they all have whole grains and are designed for breadmakers, each recipe is right up my alley. I’ll keep this booklet.

I decide to make “Honey Banana Whole Wheat Bread” for this blog. I’ve made banana yeast breads before, but don’t quite remember which recipe I used. I don’t expect the banana flavor to come through very strongly in this very wheat-y yeast bread, but I like the poppy seeds it calls for and it should be good for breakfast toast and as they say, for great peanut butter sandwiches!

Honey Banana Whole Wheat Bread recipe


This recipe calls for “1 banana”. Bananas do not come in one size! The banana I had sitting on the counter must have been bigger than they meant because I had to add almost a cup more flour to get the dough “right”. (I weighed one of its bunch-buddies and it was over 6 ounces.) With this big banana and the extra flour, my bread came out huge! It tasted great and had a good texture, but was not pretty in the pan. And it didn’t taste banana-y enought for me, even with all that banana.

Next time, I will slice the banana into a measuring cup, then add water (or milk) to 1 1/3 cup liquid volume. That’s much more scientific and should provide consistent results. And, it will have a higher banana to water ratio and perhaps more banana flavor. I’ve incorporated these changes into the directions below, but I haven’t tried this newer version yet.

Honey Banana Whole Wheat Bread

  • 1 banana, sliced
  • water or milk (see directions below)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup (3 ounces) honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 9 ounces whole wheat flour (I used whole wheat, not white whole wheat)
  • 7 ounces bread flour (I added a bit of gluten flour into this weight)
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 2 teaspoons yeast

Slice the banana into a 2-cup glass measure. Add water (or milk) to 1 1/3 cup volume. Dump the mixture into your bread machine. Add all of the remaining ingredients.

Choose a dough cycle that kneads and takes the dough through the first rise cycle. Watch the dough during the kneading process and add flour or liquid if it needs it (this recipe isn’t perfected yet!).

Remove the dough from the machine and form into a loaf. Place in a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Bake at 375˚ for 30-35 minutes. (When I baked my loaf, I used an instant-read thermometer and when the bread looked brown and done, it tested to 190˚.)

Honey Wheat Banana Bread

This bread is very good! I won’t say excellent (yet) because I want more banana flavor, I’m hoping my suggested revisions will do the banana flavor trick. (Adding dried banana chips might help too.)

Honey Banana Whole Wheat Bread is excellent in peanut butter sandwiches. And it’s good for toast. It might be kind of weird in deli meat sandwiches, but go ahead and experiment.

An even better idea for this bread is: French toast! I used Honey Banana Whole Wheat Bread to make French toast this week liked it so much that I’ll make this bread again just for the delicious treat.

1990s blog: Basic New York Water Bagels

I totally enjoy my own homemade bagels. I wrote this note in the 1990s and it is still true today:

I make these a lot! I like them for sandwiches. I think, but I’m not sure, that using malt syrup makes them better; you can find it in a beer brewing supply store. If you can’t find it, don’t worry about it!

These days (2016) I use malt powder that I purchase online from King Arthur Flour. It is more subtle than the malt syrup that I used to use, and not as sweet (so I add a little sugar). But no worries, if you want to try these but have no malt, just use sugar instead.

I like these bagels so much that I wrote about these in my other blog. Geeky food-obsessed me.

The following recipe is pretty much as I wrote it for my 1990s food blog. The recipe is adapted from The Best Bagels are Made at Home by Dona Z. Meliach. Please refer to my recipe for “Oat Bagels with Pumpkin Seeds” for photos of how to form bagels and a photo of the package of malt powder that I use.

Basic New York Water Bagels
makes 8-10 bagels

  • 1 1/8 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 tablespoons diastolic malt powder AND 1 tablespoon sugar OR 2 tablespoons malt syrup OR 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 16 ounces bread flour (3 1/3 cups)*

*I highly recommend using bread flour rather than all purpose flour for all yeast breads. Please see my reference page on yeast and flours.

Mix in breadmaker on a dough cycle with a rising step. Or, by hand until you have a stiff dough, then let rise until double and punch down.

Divide into 8-10 equal pieces. (I like bigger bagels so I usually make 8.) I like to use a kitchen scale: The total weight of the dough is usually about 800 grams, so it’s 100 grams per bagel.

Form into bagels: press each piece into a flat round, poke a hole in the center, then enlarge the hole by placing one hand on the inside and one on the outside and rolling the dough between your hands until you have a big, smooth ring. (If you don’t get the inside hole quite big, when the dough rises and cooks, you won’t have a hole in your bagel. That’s why I say to put your hand inside the bagel; the hole needs to be that big.) Photos here.

Let the formed bagels rise 20 minutes. Bring some water to a boil in a saucepan and add malt syrup (2 tablespoons) or powder (1 tablespoon) or sugar (1 tablespoon) in it. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

When the water is boiling briskly, place the risen bagels in it a couple at a time and boil 30 seconds on each side.

(After rising, the top of the bagel is smoother than the bottom. So that the baked bagel has a smooth top, I always flip the bagel as I put it in the water. In other words, I pick up a risen bagel, turn it over and place it in boiling water. After 30 seconds, I turn it. After another 30 seconds, I take it out of the boiling water.)

Remove the boiled bagel to a rack to drain. Continue until all the bagels are boiled. Brush the bagels with egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 T water) and sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds. Bake 18-22 minutes at 400 degrees.

NY bagels

Read the introduction to my 1990s cooking blog for the history of this category of my blog.


250 Cookbooks: The Best Bagels are Made at Home

Cookbook #144: The Best Bagels are Made at Home, Dona Z. Meilach, Bristol Publishing Enterprises, San Leandro, CA, 1995.

The Best Bagels are Made at Home cookbook

I am quite proud of my homemade bagels. Below is a 2012 photo of my “Basic New York Water Bagels“, my most-used recipe in The Best Bagels are Made at Home. I’ve made these tons of times! I modified the recipe just a bit, and will share it with you in a different post.

NY bagels

These bagels are lighter than store- or shop-bought bagels and absolutely wonderful.

Bagels are made from a yeast dough. They take a few more steps than a basic loaf of bread: instead of just slapping the dough into a bread pan and then the oven, you have to divide it into pieces, form each piece into a bagel, boil each in hot water, and glaze with an egg mixture and topping. Only then do they go into the oven.

But note: I have taken the time to make these many, many times. It’s worth it!

Who taught me how to make bagels? I learned from this cookbook. Dona Meilach clearly explains all the steps in bagel-making. I had tried to make them a few times before I got this cookbook, but met only with miss-shapen masses of baked dough – I found forming the dough into a bagel shape nearly impossible. Luckily I bought this book, studied and practiced, and now can make these any time I want!

Meilach begins with a little bagel history. What we know as the American bagel came with the Polish immigration in the late 1800s, and were popular among the Polish Jews who settled in New York. Between 1910 and 1915, the Bagel Bakers’ Local #338 union was formed. Apprentices of this union eventually moved to different parts of the US, and the popularity of bagels spread. (In one of my own 1941 cookbooks, The Bread Basket, I found a recipe for “bagles”.) In the early 1950s, bagels were handed out at the intermission of a Broadway comedy called Bagels and Yox. Soon after, popular women’s magazines ran recipes for “bageles”. And now, bagels are an institution in the US, as we all know!

Bagel history is followed by “Directions for Making Bagels”, pages 12-31. This is an especially helpful section. The six steps of bagel making – dough mixing (bread machine encouraged) and first rise, shaping, second rise, boiling, glaze, and baking – are described in detail. Next, Meilach discusses ingredients. Of note, she advises the reader to use bread flour for its high gluten content and recommends malt syrup in bagels. Her claim is that it “helps give bagels their unique appeal, malt assists with bfowning, and feeds the yeast.” Malt syrup can be hard to find. I once bought it from a store that sold beer brewing supplies; later I found it at a health food store. Currently, I use malt powder that I buy from King Arthur Flour and supplement it with a little sugar. But you can always use molasses or sugar instead.

The bulk of this book is recipes for different bagels, about 200 different kinds! The ingredients for each variety is laid out at about one per page. Useful as it is, this organization is also a tiny bit inconvenient because the recipes themselves do not give the times for the second rise and boiling and baking or even the oven temperature. Whenever I try a new recipe from this book, I have to fish back through the first 19 pages for the necessary specifics.

Okay. Critical step in bagel preparation, shaping. Meilach describes several methods for forming bagels:

  • the hole in the middle method
  • the hula hoop around the finger method
  • the rope method
  • bagel cutter method

I tried several of these before I settled on a modification of the “hula hoop around the finger” method. Photos of how I do this are below, in the recipe that I chose for this blog, I “Oat Bran Bagels with Pumpkin Seeds and Cinnamon”.

Oat Bran Pumpkin Seed Bagels recipe

My version is below, pretty much the same, with the complete directions included. Note that “Miller’s bran” is wheat bran – it’s not critical to the recipe so you can leave it out if you don’t have any.

Oat Bagels with Pumpkin Seeds
makes 8 bagels

  • 1 1/8 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar*
  • 2 tablespoons malt powder*
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon (yes, a tablespoon! or even more if you like!)
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal (I used the quick-cooking kind)
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour (10 5/8 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon gluten
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 5/8 cup raw or roasted pumpkin seeds

*You can substitue the “1 tablespoon sugar plus 2 tablespoon malt powder” with 2 tablespoons molasses or 2 tablespoons sugar.

Combine all of the ingredients EXCEPT the pumpkin seeds in a breadmaker set on a dough cycle with a rising step. Add the pumpkin seeds when the machine “beeps” for additions, or mix them in after the bread has risen. (If you add them at the start, they will be ground to tiny bits.)

When the breadmaker cycle is done, take the dough out. Fold it a few times, then weigh it. Mine weighed 809 grams.

bagel dough

Divide the dough into 8 pieces – mine were about 100 grams each. (You could make 10 bagels if you want smaller bagels.) Flatten each to a circle, as shown below. I have a little flour on my breadboard in case things get sticky.

flattened bagel dough

Poke a hole in the center of the flattened circle.

poke a hole in the dough

Now, pick up the bagel dough. You can put it on your finger and swirl it around, or put a few fingers in the center and stretch and pull and smooth the dough until it is a nice bagel shape. With one hand inside the hole, I kind of roll the bagel between my palms to smooth it. Leave a hole a bit bigger than a bagel-hole that you are used to in purchased bagels. The bagel will rise in all directions in the next steps, and the hole will get smaller.

formed hole

Place the smoothed bagel on a lightly greased surface or on parchment and let rise 20-30 minutes.

formed bagel

My kitchen was a bit cool, and this dough has a lot of bubble-popping bran in it, so I let my bagels rise about 40 minutes.

bagels risen

While the bagels rise, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add a tablespoon of malt powder (or use a tablespoon of sugar). Have ready an egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water) and your choice of seeds for the top (I chose poppy seeds).

Take a bagel and put it in the boiling water, flipping it so that you put the top side down (this gives smoother looking baked bagels). Set a timer and boil 30 seconds, then turn it over, add another flipped bagel, and boil another 30 seconds. Remove the first bagel and turn the second and add another – continue until all the bagels are boiled.

If the instructions in the above paragraph are hard to follow, just do this: boil each bagel 30 seconds on each side!

bagels boiling

Set each boiled bagel on a rack. Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with seeds.

bagels ready for the oven

Bake at 400˚ for 20 minutes.

Oat Pumpkin Seed Bagels

I ate one right out of the oven! Boy was it good. Next day I had one with cream cheese and jam for breakfast. Deli meat and cheese and lettuce and tomato for lunch. Gotta make some more!


250 Cookbooks: The Bread Basket

Cookbook #119: The Bread Basket, Standard Brands Incorporated, 1941.

The Bread Basket cookbook“‘Baking day’ isn’t on the American housewife’s calendar any more. For at her bakery or grocery . . . fresh every day . . . is a profusion of breads, rolls, cakes and pastries that’s one of the world’s wonders.

“How tempting they are . . . how delicious . . . how cheap . . . and what a world of work they save!

“But there are times when women like to run up a batch of rolls of their own, or try their hand at a coffee cake, just to see if they can still do it!”

So begins this delightful 1941 cookbook. I smile as I turn the pages.

The breads in this cookbook are all yeast breads, and Fleischmann’s yeast is specified in every recipe. (Standard Brands was formed in 1929 by J. P. Morgan by a merger of Fleischmann’s and four other companies. In 1981, Standard Brands merged with Nabisco to form Nabisco Brands, Inc.)

The copy right has expired on this cookbook, so I am going to share with you a few of my favorite pages. Let the book speak for itself!

page 2page 3Bagles! And yes, the recipe below is for “bagels”, as we spell it.

page 9page 12Corn Meal Muffins recipeI always google my cookbook titles. This time I find the Fresh Loaf website has reproduced a later version of The Bread Basket. The cover is the same, the layout is the same, but the content is different and refers to war rationing.

This was one of my mother’s cookbooks, but she didn’t make any notes in it, nor are their food stains. She must have got it soon after she was married.

I decide to make “Corn Meal Muffins” for this blog. The original recipe is in the picture just above. I think it might be interesting to use yeast as the leavening in corn muffins instead of baking powder! I hope they turn out.

A couple notes. The recipe calls for “scalded milk”. This is simply milk heated to just below boiling. This kills any bacteria that might interfere with the yeast and/or the taste of the bread. With today’s pasteurized milk, most (but not all) cooks consider this an unnecessary step.

“1 cake of yeast” probably means a 2 ounce cake of wet, compressed yeast. Although caked yeast is supposedly still available, I haven’t seen it in years, so I will use my usual active dry yeast. According to the Red Star website, 1/3 of a 2 ounce yeast cake is equal to 2 1/4 teaspoons of dry yeast. I am making a half recipe, so I should use 3 3/8 teaspoons of dry yeast. (I actually used 1 1/2 teaspoons yeast but would use more next time.)

Yeast Corn Muffins
makes 10

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 7/8 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast (note added later: too yeasty, so 1 1/2 teaspoons is my suggestion)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cup flour

Scald the milk, then stir in the butter until it melts, then stir in the cornmeal. Add the brown sugar and salt. Let cool to lukewarm, then stir in the yeast, egg, and flour.

Grease a muffin pan (you will only need 10 of the muffin cups). Fill each muffin cup half full. Let rise one hour, until light.

Bake at 375˚ for 22 minutes (or until they test done).


These turned out great! Unlike baking powder muffins, these did not crumble and fall apart a lot as we ate them. They were rough and chewy! The flavor was perfect. I think these might also be good with some cooked corn off-the-cob stirred into the batter. (Maybe with green chiles and chopped red bell pepper too.)

Here are the muffins just after I put the batter into the muffin pan:

just into panHere they are after an hours’ rise. They look a little lighter or higher:

risenAnd here they are baked:

bakedThese weren’t really tall muffins, but this might be my mistake. I made a slight calculation error and only used 1 1/2 teaspoons yeast instead of 2 1/4 teaspoons. Next time they might turn out higher – but they were dang good as is! I liked them split and toasted and spread with cream cheese and jam:

muffin with jam

250 Cookbooks: Bread Machine Favorites (Fleischmann’s Yeast)

Cookbook #106: Bread Machine Favorites (Fleischmann’s Yeast), Copyright by Specialty Brands, a Division of Burns Philp Food Inc., San Francisco, CA, 1994. Tested in the Better Homes and Garden Test Kitchen, a registered trademark of Meredith Corporation.

Bread Machine FavoritesThis is a great cookbook. I have thumbed through it many times and it shows! I keep it with my other favorite cookbooks, near the Joy of Cooking.

I like the recipes in Bread Machine Favorites because they all work. Each recipe includes a “recommended bread machine cycle”, so they work across the different brands of bread machines. There is a great “Troubleshooting Guide” if your loaves are not turning out perfect. This guide helped me hone my bread-machine-breadmaking skills. Most importantly, I learned to watch the bread in the machine and add more water or flour as necessary. (Here is my discussion of my experience with – and love of – yeast breads.)

These are the recipes I have tried and liked in Bread Machine Favorites: Blueberry-Lemon Bread, Cottage Wheat Bread, Pumpkin-Nut Bread, Zucchini-Carrot Bread, Old-Fashioned Cinnamon Rolls, and Dried Cherry-Almond Bread. The one I used to make almost weekly is Cottage Wheat Bread. It has cottage cheese in it, therefore a little added protein and calcium. Plus it’s just a darn good whole wheat bread.

Most of the loaf recipes in this cookbook call for baking the bread in the bread machine. It is my preference to bake yeast loaves in a conventional oven. I bake a small loaf (8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches) for about 22 minutes at 385˚, or until it is nicely browned. The Bread Machine Cookbook also has recipes for rolls and braided loaves, and those are baked in a conventional oven.

About yeast. I like to know my yeast, so I buy it in two-pound packages (and I usually do not buy Fleishmann’s yeast, not that it isn’t good). By always using the same yeast, and using the bread machine to rise the loaves at a consistent temperature, I know I will get consistent results. After I acquire a two-pound package of yeast, I fill a small jar and keep it in the refrigerator, and store the rest in the freezer. Here is my discussion of bread yeast.

For this blog, I will try the “Basic Sourdough Bread”. About a year ago I purchased a sourdough starter from King Arthur Flour. Up until now, I have only used this starter to make no-knead rustic loaves. I have been very happy with the flavor and consistency of these rustic loaves loaves. They are not as sour as San Francisco sourdough bread, but I’m not sure that sort of sourness is possible in Colorado. In any case, they taste different than no-knead bread made without sourdough starter. Now I want to expand my sourdough repertoire to a kneaded loaf!

(By the way: this is the first time in my life that I have kept a sourdough starter fed and perfect for an entire year!)

Here is the sourdough recipe in Bread Machine Favorites:

Basic Sourdough Bread recipeI had to make a few changes in the recipe. As the bread kneaded, it was too dry, and I added at least 1/4 cup water to get the correct consistency. When I examine the “Sourdough Starter” directions in Bread Machine Favorites, I note that this cookbook directs to feed the starter with equal parts water and flour. My starter is fed with twice as much flour as water, therefore, 2 cups of flour in this recipe is too much. Below is my revised version, as well as directions for feeding my starter.

Sourdough Bread Machine Bread
makes one 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf

  • 3/4 cup unfed sourdough starter (see directions below)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 3/4 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons yeast

Put all the ingredients in your bread machine and set to a dough cycle, or to a basic white bread cycle with medium color (baking) setting.

If you have the bread machine do the baking, you just wait until it’s baked!

If you want to bake the bread in the oven, transfer the dough to an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch pan. Let rise at room temperature just until the loaf peaks a half-inch over the sides of the pan. Bake for 25 minutes at 385˚.

Sourdough LoafThis is great bread. The sourdough gives it a subtle flavor and soft texture. My only problem was that I used the original amount of flour and had to add more water, and ended up with a huge loaf. Honest: This loaf was just to the top of the pan when I put it in the oven, but it ballooned up on baking! Even so, the bread doesn’t have huge holes in it, nor a coarse texture. I made it Saturday and today is Wednesday and I am so looking forward to my lunch-time sandwich on this tasty, soft bread. (Note that my directions, above, incorporate my revision of using less flour so that the loaf should not rise as large.)

sourdough bread slicesSourdough starter note

My advice on sourdough starter is to get some from a friend or purchase from a reliable source. My starter is fed like this:

  • remove 8 ounces or about a cup and either use it or toss it
  • add 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup water and mix well
  • let stand at room temperature an hour or two, until it is bubbly
  • cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate
  • repeat once a week, whether you are baking a sourdough loaf or not!

The directions that came with my starter say to use freshly fed starter in a recipe. However, for the bread machine sourdough loaf that I make for this blog, I used unfed (just out of the refrigerator) starter and it worked great. In fact, it almost worked too well, as the bread rose a lot in the oven, as you can see in the photo of the loaf.


I have an extra copy of Bread Machine Favorites! I liked it so much that I bought a copy to give away, then forgot to.