Saturday, April 21, 2012

My Favorite Dough

I have a bread recipe that I use for everything.  It makes great cinnamon bread, monkey bread, dinner rolls, and even cinnamon rolls.  So I thought I would pass it along to you, but first I have to tell you about our supper last night.  Forgive me if I have already talked about this, but it is sooooo good and really easy too.  Chicken bundles!  

All you need is 2 Pillsbury crescent sheets, 2 big cans of chicken, a tub of Tofutti better than cream cheese, onion flakes, and basil.  Put the Tofutti in a bowl and microwave it for a few seconds, just enough to soften it.  Now mix in the 2 cans of drained chicken, a sprinkle of onion and basil, and stir.  Now open your crescent sheets and cut them into 4 squares.  Plop a spoonful of chicken mixture in the middle and wrap it up.  Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.  Please excuse the picture, my daughter reached in and swiped some chicken out right before I got the pic, so that's why it looks a bit strange, but as I said before it is really good.

OK, back to the dough.  It is super easy and I bet you already have everything you need in your house.

2 cups warm water
1/2 cup sugar
2 packets of yeast
1/4 cup oil
5-6 cups of flour

In a large bowl stir the warm water and sugar until it is all dissolved.  Add in the yeast, I use Hodgson Mills Quick Rise.  Let it set for about 5 minutes.  You should see it bubbling a bit and then you know your yeast is active.  Now add in the oil, and pour in the flour one cup at a time, stirring between.  The reason I won't commit to a specific measurement of flour is because you want it to be firm and not sticky, but if you get too much flour in there, you bread may turn out dry.  What I do is start with a spoon and usually by about the fourth cup I can't stir anymore so I cover my hands in oil and just knead away at it, adding flour when I can, and stop when I can't get any more absorbed.  Now let it sit in the bowl, covered for an hour.  From here you are going to have some choices to make

For Dinner Rolls  coat your hands in oil again, and punch down the bread.  Now make ping pong sized balls and put 2 in each cup of a cupcake pan.  Cover the pans with a towel and give them about 20 minutes to rise.  Bake at 350 until the tops are golden

For Monkey Bread oil your hands, and punch down the bread.  Just like the dinner rolls, make them into balls.  What I do is take a big clump of bread and then squeeze it between my thumb and pointer finger, and then pinch it off.  Hope that makes since.  Now dip each ball in melted earth balance or whatever butter sub you like, and roll it in sugar and cinnamon.  Now place them in a bundt pan and let them rise, covered and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.

For Cinnamon Bread Oil you hands and punch down the dough.  Dust your counter with flour, take half the dough and roll out a large rectangle.  Brush the dough with melted butter sub. (earth balance) and then sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.  Roll it up and then fold it into a bread pan.  Now do the same with the other half of the dough, as this recipe makes two loaves.  Let it rise, covered, for 20 minutes and bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

For Cinnamon Rolls follow the instructions for the cinnamon bread, but for the filling melt a stick of margarine and add in sugar and cinnamon until the mixture is very thick.  I can scoop mine up with my hand. Now spread it all over your square of dough and roll it up (like the top left picture) now cut it every inch or so and lay each disk into a large greased pan.  Cover and let it rise for 20 minutes and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.  Pull them out when the tops are golden.

Apple Rolls are another variation on the cinnamon rolls.  My family loves them, and I do not!  I guess you can give them a try if it sounds goo to you.  Make them exactly the same as the cinnamon rolls but for the filling, you need to saute the following mixture in a skillet until it thickens, and then let it cool.  
6 diced apples
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp earth balance
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. cornstarch 

Oh man!  I almost forgot about the frosting.  Sometimes I use Pillsbury cream cheese frosting (contains soy) and sometimes I just mix powdered sugar with soymilk and use it as a glaze.  It's up to you.  Enjoy! 

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