Archive for the 'Breads, Biscuits and Rolls' Category

Recipe: Homemade pizza, ricotta cheese

|November 8, 2011|read comments (2)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Today I made some pizza dough to make a nice old-style Napolitan pizza.

Dissolved my yeast in warm water in a large bowl, added just a tiny bit of sugar, water, oil, flour and salt.

After the first rise, I separated the dough into portions. One went into a large (food grade) plastic bag – leaving plenty of room at both ends for it to rise in the refrigerator; placing a  twist tie at the very end of the bag for closure. Gently place on a tray and slide into the refrigerator and DO NOT DISTURB at all. That is for tomorrow's pizza.

Since it is dough for pizza – it doesn't need to rise a second time. So I spread my dough in my tin (today I used a jelly roll pan), greased (grease for a soft-bottomed crust, do not grease for a crunchier bottom), and drizzled a bit of olive oil over the top.

I opened a large can of crushed tomatoes and cooked them with diced onions; seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, parsley, basil, and a bit of marjoram. Simmered to thicken a bit; cool before spreading on pizza. The rest is in the refrigerator for tomorrow's pizza. A light sprinkle of grated Pecorino Romano and a sprinkle of dry bread crumbs.

Now that is the way pizza is supposed to be made!

While that was being made, I made my ricotta cheese. Look – I couldn't beat the price. I found whole milk for $1.68 per gallon at WalMart. I didn't have buttermilk so I used about 1/4 cup of white vinegar; stir and bring to simmer. By the time the temperature of the milk hits about 175 to 180* F. you will see the whey and the curds separate. Transfer curds to a cheesecloth-lined strained (several layers of cheesecloth) – drain off liquid but don't press the curds. Place over bowl and bring up ends of cheesecloth and tie; allow to drain overnight in the refrigerator (make sure to have a deep bowl so that the liquid is not touching the cheese). I'll have about 4 cups of homemade ricotta cheese for tomorrow's lasagna.

You can't beat homemade and you can't beat the price!

Since the oven will be on tomorrow, I'll make my homemade bread in the morning and time it so that it comes out of the oven just in time to slide the lasagna in. A large salad of greens with a nice homemade vinaigrette and we will be happy. I have our big meal planned for some time between noon and 1 in the afternoon; pizza for the later meal with chicken wings. Hey – it's a great way to watch a football game!

Recipe: Never Waste!!!

|June 10, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

One thing about the old-timers – especially those that went through the Great Depression back in the 1930's – you waste nothing! You find something to do with it and you can make another meal or stretch a meal further to feed your family.

This is an easy lunch – (we didn't snack years ago – you ate your meals and that was it!)

Cut homemade bread in thick slices – about 1/2-inch or so thick. Soak briefly in milk. You can cut the crusts off and save to use for making homemade bread crumbs or you can leave the crusts on – your preference. From milk, dip in beaten egg, coating both sides.

Heat oil (we used lard back then) in heavy skillet. Add bread slices, frying until golden on both sides. Drain on paper towels (brown bags were used in the old days). Top with fresh grated cheese or very thinly sliced cheese so that it melts. Serve hot.

If the pot of sauce is on the stove – DIP!

Recipe: The Familia Kitchen Bread Baking

|June 3, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

As a child, I don’t remember a day – regardless of what day of the week it was including Sunday and holidays – that mom wasn’t baking bread. It seemed that the bread baking started as soon as mom got out of bed. She would even start baking in the middle of the night.

Our Basic Homemade Bread Recipe

cake yeast

Our house always smelled so good from all the homemade goodies that were being cooked and baked. Spending the entire day (and night many times) in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove/oven was just the natural thing to do.

Mom would pull out the “bread” bowl – a big heavy bowl that was also known as the “meatball” bowl when making meatballs, the “cookie” bowl when making cookies, the “cake” bowl when making cakes, etc. Yes – I still have the bowl and I treasure it. I don’t think there is a bowl in all the world that has been used as much as that bowl has. Everything in my house was made in big batches – never small or individual batches. How could you give to others if you only made enough for yourself? Plus you always made sure you made BIG batches of meatballs – great for freezing to make a quick meal when needed.

Then mom would grab the enamel saucepan and pour in the milk. Milk was delivered by the milkman and came in glass quart bottles – with the cream on top. Shake the bottle to incorporate the cream and pour into the pan. Scald the milk.

Meanwhile she would be running hot water to get the right temperature (always can tell by using her pinky!) so that she could dissolve the cakes of yeast.

That “temperature-telling” finger did a fine job when it came time to test temperatures – just like her hand in the oven could tell the oven’s temperature.

Once the milk was scalded, it was removed from the heat and the butter was added so it would melt.

Into the bread bowl went flour, salt and a bit of sugar. The dissolved yeast and the cooled milk/butter mixture was added; more flour was added and then it was turned out onto the table and kneaded. A bit of oil was added to the bread bowl and the kneaded dough was placed in the bowl, turning to coat with a bit of oil; covered and left to rise.

When doubled in bulk, the dough was punched down and formed into loaves or rolls, placed on baking sheets to rise again.

Then it was the “lighting of the oven” using a piece of rolled up paper or newspaper that you lit with the match, hold in the button to release the gas and light the pilot light. There was no oven temperature gauge – mom would have to tell by using her hand.

When the oven was the right temperature – the bread (or rolls) went in.

When it came out, mom would brush the tops with a little butter using a piece of waxed paper scrunched up – that is the same way she greased cake pans, etc. – which is how I still do it today.

Bread-making has changed just a tad these days, sometimes we still use the scalded milk and butter, sometimes we don’t.

And that dough recipe made not only the best bread, but it made the best sweet rolls as well. For sweet yeast breads you did the same thing, adding more sugar and eggs. Sometimes adding orange or lemon peel, fruits, dried raisins – whatever you wanted. It also made the best dough for filled breads – apple fillings, nut fillings, date fillings, fig fillings – you name it! Drizzle with a nice smooth icing and fancy it up with candied cherries for a special look. Depending on what you made with the dough – vanilla or almond flavoring could be added.

Never needed a recipe – it was always done by look and feel – and always turning out perfect.

Butter in my house was always homemade. T just seemed to be the thing to do. We’ve always preferred butter over margarine, but we have used margarine for certain recipes. Today??? We stick to butter. Margarine is not margarine anymore – it’s oil. I don’t like “spreads” – they can keep them.

We used lard – and today – we still use lard for many things.

All the old family traditions are still carried out in our home.

Recipe: Homemade Cornbread Mix

|June 2, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

With us being well into fall, and now that today is Halloween, it's hard to believe that in just a couple weeks we will be baking and cooking for family and friends.

With so much to do, and there never seems to be enough time, homemade mixes save me time. Also, when you have homemade mixes in the pantry you can whip something up to add to your meal to make it extra special. It's those little things that you do that put the lasting memories of all the good things you would make. That few extra minutes of effort means a lot.


4 cups flour
1 tablespoons salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup baking powder
1 cup solid vegetable shortening
4 cups cornmeal

Combine the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl. With a pastry blender or two knives cut in shortening until particles are fine. Add the cornmeal and mix well. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container for 3-4 months. LABEL AND DATE!

Makes about 10 cups of dry mix


Combine 2 1/2 cups cornbread mix with 1 large beaten egg and 1-1/4 cups milk. Mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour into a greased 8" square pan or greased muffin tins and bake at 425 degrees for 15-25 minutes until light golden brown and bread springs back when lightly touched with finger. Muffins will bake for the shorter time period.

It's nice to have this for making cornbread, cornbread stuffing/dressing, cornsticks, etc. – just use in your favorite recipes – much better than Jiffy!

Recipe: Foodies Paradise

|March 12, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

I’ve lived in this area all my life and I must say that it is a foodie’s paradise! We have a wonderful selection of restaurants and many different ethnic restaurants as well.


It almost seems as if there are restaurants on every corner! We have everything from fine dining to tiny deli owners serving some of the best tasting goodies ever! The selection of family-owned restaurants with their authentic dishes I absolutely fabulous!


One thing this area is well known for (besides the ORIGINAL BUFFALO WINGS) is our Beef on Weck Sandwiches a/k/a Beef on Kimmelweck Rolls.

If you’ve never had a kimmelweck roll you just don’t know what you are missing.

Kimmelweck rolls are of Polish origin. A large, crusty Kaiser-style roll topped with kosher (coarse) salt and caraway seed!

Roast beef, sliced so nice and thin and layered up to 6-inches high makes these sandwiches really stand out in a crowd!

Served with au jus or horseradish. And don’t forget the Polish dill spears served on the side!

The memories of the corner tavern and their steam tables filled with roast beef all day and night. Regardless of the time of day – you could get a hot beef on weck. And being centrally located with all the steel plants in the area – they went through tons of beef and dozens and dozens of weck rolls! With three shifts going at the plant I don’t know how they kept up with all those great sammies!


This can easily be duplicated at home. Begin by making your own kimmelweck rolls.
This recipe will make 8 rolls:

Sprinkle 2 ½ t. active dry yeast over ¼ c. lukewarm water (95* – 100*F) in small bowl and let proof until bubbly – about 5 minutes.

In separate bowl combine:
3/4 cup lukewarm water (95*F to 110*F)
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tbsp. salt
1 tsp. barley malt syrup or honey
1 large egg white
Stir to dissolve the sugar.

Add to this bowl:
1 ½ c. flour (preferably bread flour – high-gluten) – mix until smooth. Add yeast and slowly stir in an additional 1 ½ c. flour.
Turn onto lightly floured surface; knead 5 to 7 minutes, until smooth and elastic but still tacky to the touch. Add additional flour (up to ¼ c.) to keep the dough from sticking.

Transfer to large greased bowl, turning to coat; cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm area until doubled in size – about 1 hour.

Punch dough down; cover again; and let rise a second time for about 30 minutes.

Return dough to work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces; shape into a smooth round; flatten the round slightly. Place on parchment-lined or greased baking sheet, well spaced to allow for spreading. Cover loosely with a towel and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat 425* F.

Combine 1 large egg white with 1 T. water; blend well. Brush rolls lightly. Using the tip of a sharp knife, cut 4 crescent-shaped slits into each roll, radiating out from the center. Sprinkle rolls with a mixture of coarse salt crystals and caraway seed; then spritz with water.

Bake for 5 minutes. Quickly open the oven door and spritz again with water; close the oven door and bake 20 minutes more, until browned and crisp. Cool on wire racks.


This recipe will also make a Vienna Loaf
Follow the recipe except divide the dough in half, shaping each half into an oval with tapered ends. After the final rise, apply the egg wash and cut a ½-inch deep slit down the top of each loaf; omit salt and caraway sprinkle, if desired. Bake at 400* F. about 30 minutes more after the second spritz with water (total 35 minutes).


And it will make a nice snack – Salt and Pepper Sticks

Follow the recipe directions except omit the second rise and divide dough into 13 equal pieces. Roll each into a 12-inch rope; place ropes 1 ½-inches apart on prepared baking sheet. After final rise, apply egg wash (do not make any cuts in the dough) and sprinkle with coarse sea salt and coarsely ground or cracked pepper. Do not spritz with water. Bake about 18 minutes. These are great served with mustard – plain old yellow mustard makes a great dipper! And for the brave – add some cayenne to your mustard!!


And these are great sandwiches to have during football season! I haven’t met a tailgater or an armchair quarterback that hasn’t enjoyed these! You don’t need a steam table either – you can always use your crockpot! Gotta love having crockpots – they keep foods warm, and for gatherings everyone can help themselves – just keep adding to it as the goodies disappear.

Oven roast your roast beef the day before; cool completely in the refrigerator. Thin slicing it is very easy then. And no one said you can’t do this “pulled-beef” style either. Just as you would pulled pork.


There are so many recipes for making beef for kimmelwecks and each claims to be the best or the original.

This is a very easy recipe and it makes a very tasty roast as well:

Place roast in baking pan with a bit of olive oil; roll to coat lightly; season with fresh garlic, kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and fresh parsley – that‘s it. You want that marvelous flavor of the meat to come through. Roast at 350* F. to desired doneness. For rare – roast at 450* F to desired doneness.

For best results for these sandwiches – the roasts are cooked a day or two ahead; refrigerated and then sliced thin on a meat slicer; re-heated in au jus (which is nothing more than stock/broth**) and layered onto a fresh kimmelweck roll. Horseradish or horseradish sauce is served on the side along with Polish dill spears. I know that at the deli we had a lot of requests for the tops of the buns to be gently dipped into the au jus because it was so good.

As stated above, au jus is nothing more than beef stock stirred into the degreased roasting pan and brought to a boil. It is not thick like a typical sauce or gravy. The important thing to remember about au jus is – THE AU JUS WILL ONLY BE AS GOOD AS YOUR STOCK! So it is best to use a homemade beef stock. You can squeak by with a canned beef stock only if it is very top quality and bouillon will not cut it – that will ruin it.

When you beef is cooked and removed from the roasting pan, start making your au jus. Remove the fat from the pan (either discard or reserve for Yorkshire puddings). Place your roaster over medium heat, add your beef stock, stirring to release the browned bits from the bottom of the roaster. Bring to a boil and cook until slightly reduced, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to gravy vessel.

Making a good-sized batch of au jus allows you to portion and freeze for future use.

Easy to freeze – cool completely in the fridge, portion into freezer containers, cover, label and date, and freeze.


Here is another “local” restaurant recipe for roast beef:

Flour your roast and brown it in olive oil over medium high heat. Transfer to roaster; add enough beef broth and enough water to come half way up the roast. Chunk an onion and add; season to taste with salt, pepper and garlic powder – being careful of the amount of salt used. Add a spoon of beef bouillon and a bit of browning sauce. Cover and roast at 375* F. turning occasionally. Remove and let cool for easier slicing. Strain cooking liquid and discard solids, return to pan, add sliced beef and heat through.

Serve your beef sandwiches with a nice dollop or horseradish or if you’re not that brave – try a nice sour cream horseradish sauce.


Sour Cream Horseradish Sauce for Beef Sandwiches

1 pint sour cream
½ cup prepared horseradish (well-drained)
¼ cup chopped chives (optional)
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Combine and mix well. Make a couple hours ahead to allow the flavors to meld. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator.


How brave are you? Add more prepared horseradish.
Allow sauce to stand at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.

Recipe: St. Patrick’s Day – 2010

|March 12, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen


Today we are all Irish.

Buffalo has their annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade today; the bars are selling green beer; bakeries are selling green bagels. Green chocolate is found in the candy makers outlet.

I think everyone is making corned beef today – whether it is brisket or round.
I needed to run out for caraway seeds – so I drove into the city and went to a supermarket in South Buffalo – or should I say “Little Ireland” – a prominently Irish part of the city. Passing the bars – well – they are packed all ready and it‘s still morning. Irish flags are hanging every where. Shamrocks are painted on faces and everything is GREEN! And everyone is wearing green as well.

The Irish Center is going strong. And after the parade – more and more patrons will be flooding these places. The Irish dancers are dancing their little legs off – they are sooooo good! Amazing talent! I could watch them forever. (I have a strong background in dance as well).

I’m staying home – it’s damp and raining so it’s not the best weather for parade watching. Plus I am not into big crowds and rowdiness. But I can honestly say – this is the first St. Paddy’s Day Parade that I’ve seen that it didn’t snow in Buffalo! Wonders never cease!

My corned beef round in boiling away with onion and caraway. Just need to cut up my cabbage, clean and cut my carrots. The vote this year was for mashed potatoes in place of adding potatoes to the pot – fine with me.

My Irish Soda Bread is in the oven with raisins and caraway.

My Corned Beef Recipe

Tender corned beef round with cabbage, and carrots. Served with mashed potatoes and Irish Soda Bread.

1 3 ½ lb. corned beef round (we don’t care for the fatty brisket)
2 medium onions, cut into chunks
Sprinkle caraway seeds

Wash off the corned beef round and toss the spice packet away. The beef is flavored enough by the corning process. If there is excess fat; remove. This round that I have was nice and lean.
Place in stock pot with onion and cover with cold water; cover pot. I let it boil for 1 1/2 hours before I added the caraway – just in case I needed to skim it. But this round was perfect.

Three hours into boiling, the carrots were added. Cabbage went in 30 minutes after the carrots. The cabbage cooks in about 30 minutes – enough time to boil potatoes and make mashed potatoes.

This is a one-pot meal if you add potatoes to the broth. But I don’t mind the extra pan from the mashed potatoes. And there is not much prep work that needs to be done; clean up is so easy.

Four and half hours after placing the pot on the stove – we had our meal. The beef was fork tender – just perfect. The cabbage and carrots had just the right texture – not mushy.

I paid a dollar more per pound for the round (brisket is cheaper) and it was well worth it. We don’t eat it all the time – just a couple times a year – and paying a bit more is fine.

My Irish Soda Bread
I’ve been making this so long that I just “eye-ball” it. Simple to make, no rising time (like yeast breads) and so delicious. With so little clean up!

I started with:
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon caraway seeds – blending with my large fork

To this I added:
2 cups raisins
½ cup butter, softened
2 cups buttermilk

Now for all of you that bake and make breads, you know how weather, humidity, etc. affects your flour – not to mention the fact that todays’ flour is crappy anyway**. I needed to add an additional cup (give or take) of flour to get the right consistency.

Shaped and flattened a bit and placed on a greased baking sheet (I use shortening to grease my pans); cut a “cross” into the bread (since this is a dense, heavier bread, you want to make sure it bakes through) and placed in a preheated 350* F. oven.

This recipe gives a good-sized loaf .
Sometimes I only add 1 cup raisins to half the dough and make 2 smaller loaves. The caraway can be omitted as well. And you can increase the caraway to 2 tablespoons – your choice.

**I find that flours that come from some of the smaller mills are much better to work with and give better results. The “big brand name” flours aren’t all they claim to be anymore.

Well as you can see – my bread “grew” considerably.

Recipe: Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

|March 2, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

From our "redneck" relatives that settled down South: (and for the life of me I can't picture my great-uncle with his heavy Italian accent conversing with a southern hillbilly that had a deep Southern drawl……………how'd they ever understand each other???  One speaking fast with his hands and the other scratching his head and barely pronouncing his words SLOWLY!)


Preheat oven to 450* F.


In large bowl,combine:
2 cups flour
Scant 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder**
1 teaspoon Kosher salt

Cut in until mixture resembles coarse meal:
6 tablespoons very cold butter (unsalted)
Drizzle in enough buttermilk (1/2 to 3/4 cup) until just combined. If too dry, add additional buttermilk, 1 teaspoon at a time.

Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead gently. Pat to desired thickness and cut with floured cutters. Transfer to baking sheet.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown – do not overbake.


**You can make it homemade if in a pinch or to save money.


NOTE: As I stated earlier – I bake mine in a 350 – 375* F. oven.

Recipe: Baking Powder Biscuits

|March 2, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

This recipe is one that was handed down for generations –

I found this one in my great aunt's recipe collection:


Sift 3 times into large bowl:
2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder**
1 teaspoon salt

Cut in:
4 – 5 tablespoons lard (you can use shortening) – mixture should resemble small peas

Just enough milk to hold the dough together
Knead gently on floured surface; pat to desired thickness and cut with floured cutter.

Brush tops of biscuits with cream or melted butter.

Bake in preheated 450* Fahrenheit oven 12 to 15 minutes.

Makes 12 to 18 depending on cutter.


**You can save money by making your own.

NOTE: Yes, I still use lard on occasion. sometimes I don't brush the biscuits until they come out of the oven. Also, I bake mine between 350 – 375* F.


VARIATION: At times I have added about 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar, and 1 large egg for a nice flavor.

Recipe: Chicken-in-A-Basket

|February 25, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Yesterday was easy cooking – since I had made enough potato salad, macaroni salad and coleslaw for two days – All I had to make was my breaded chicken.

I used thighs and chicken breasts – both with skin and bones. Thoroughly wash chicken pieces in cold water and salt; rinse well and pat dry.

I soaked the chicken pieces in buttermilk (covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator) overnight. For 3 pounds of chicken pieces I used about 2 cups of buttermilk which I poured in a glass 13 X 9-inch baking dish. I add chopped onion, chopped fresh garlic, minced fresh parsley, and a sprinkle of cayenne. Added a few turns of the pepper grinder and some Kosher salt. Added the chicken and turn to coat – turning several times while marinating.

Drain well in colander and discard milk. In a shallow dish I combined fresh fine dry breadcrumbs (made from crusty Italian bread), homemade garlic salt, homemade onion salt, paprika, dried parsley flakes and a few grinds from the pepper mill.

Dredge chicken in coating, pressing to coat well and place in single layer on large platter to rest for a bit.

Heat shortening to 365* Fahrenheit. Deep fry in batches until golden and cooked through. Drain on paper towels or on wire rack placed over baking sheet.

Keep warm in preheated 200* Fahrenheit oven until all chicken is cooked.

Served in wicker baskets lined with deli wrap with salads and coleslaw and homemade biscuits.

Simple Biscuits

1 cup self-rising flour
½ cup whole milk
Scant ¼ cup mayonnaise (not salad dressing)

Combine ingredients mixing well; drop by spoonfuls onto baking sheet and bake in preheated 375* Fahrenheit oven for 18 – 20 minutes or until done.

Recipe: Weekend Breakfast Biscuits

|February 24, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

It's the weekend – and a nice Saturday breakfast biscuit goes well with my tea!

Today I am making oven BBQ'd ribs and macaroni salad so I don't want to make a big or heavy breakfast. With Spring finally here – I'm wishing for BBQ!

This is a recipe I came up with a long time ago – I hope you get to try it.

Mama's Original Breakfast Biscuits #7 (yes #7 – I have many that I have created)

This is a biscuit which is very easy to make – prep time is less than 3 minutes, bake time is approximately 10 minutes.
Not sweet, very tender and moist –

2 cups baking mix (my homemade mix)
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon/sugar**
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup finely minced apple (peeled, cored)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup apple juice

Preheat oven to 400* F. Grease baking sheet; set aside.

Whisk dry ingredients; add raisins, apple, and walnuts; toss. Add vanilla and apple juice. Stir to blend.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet.

Bake 10 minutes in preheated oven.
Makes 12

**Since I am making this for someone other than myself, and this person cannot enjoy cinnamon the way they used to, I added just a scant 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon/sugar. If you want to, you can add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, or 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, or 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice. I used walnuts because I had them on hand – pecans work well too. No raisins? Chop dried prunes – no one will know the difference!Or try dried cherries, blueberries, golden raisins, craisins, etc.

You'll see in other posts where I drizzled with glaze as well.