Gluten Free Stuffing

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Gluten Free Stuffing

With all of the grain-less bread options out there you have many healthy options these days.

1-20 Ounce Gluten Free Bread (in the frozen section)

1 Cup Golden Raisins

2 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth (1 Cup at a time)

2 Tablespoons D’Avolio Wild Mushroom and Sage EVOO

½ Onion, chopped

1 Medium Blub Fennel, chopped white part only

1 tsp salt

2-3 TBSP Bells Poultry Seasoning

Oil a 3 quart baking pan with a brush.

Preparation

Place break on a cookie sheet in an even layer. Dry in a 250 degree oven for about an hour (flipping about every 15 minutes) or place on sheet a day earlier, defrost and dry on the counter, uncovered. If it is not dry enough, put in oven for about 15 minutes or until it feels like dry toast.

Place 1 cup raisins and 1 cup broth in saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes and remove from heat. You can also microwave for four minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a heavy skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the EVOO. Sauté onion and fennel until soft, about 10 minutes then cool slightly.

Cube the dried bread roughly and place in a very large bowl. Add salt, poultry seasoning, cooled raisins, onion and fennel; whisk eggs and add to the bowl, tossing lightly with your hands.

Place the mixture in the prepared baking pan. Drizzle with a little more EVOO and another cup of broth. Bake, covered for about 35 minutes at 350 degrees (with other things in your oven) and uncover for the last 10 minutes.

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Balsamic Fig Bruschetta With Goat Cheese

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Servings: 8
Prep time: 0:20
Total time: 0:20
Categories: Appetizer, Bread
Source: JudeTheFoodie.com

Ingredients

• 1 12-18″ French Bread
• 6-11 oz Goat Cheese
• 1-2 Tbsp extra Virgin Olive Oil
• Balsamic Fig Jam

Directions

Slice bread on an angle in about ½ ” pieces.

Place in a single on a large cookie sheet. Broil until light golden brown. Turn over and brown other side. Brush with olive oil on one side.

Have a large serving platter ready. With a spoon, put about a teaspoon full of fig jam onto bread and spread to cover. Place on platter. Repeat with all bread.

Crumble goat cheese and sprinkle a little on each piece. Drizzle a little more olive oil over the platter.

Also drizzle 18 year Traditional Balsamic Vinegar over platter, if desired.

Delicious with crisp white wine.

Have a yummy day!

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Knead The Dough Is A Happy Place To Eat

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I have a rule. If three separate people suggest something to me, I think of it as a divine message. I didn’t read Pride and Prejudice until seven years ago because it was referenced by three different people in a short time span. It’s now easily my favorite book.

The first time I heard about Knead The Dough in Ransomville, New York my friend Dorothy mentioned their cinnamon raisin bread. The second time is fuzzy and the third time was by my friend Mary who told me that my love for restaurant tables being set differently was common practice at this breakfast and lunch place just seven miles from our home.

I confess, I love breakfast. I always have. I loved nights when my mom would make us breakfast for dinner. She had the touch with everything and a perfectly seasoned cast iron skillet to make crisp on the outside, soft on the inside home fries. By the way, home fries or hash browns? Home fries everyday of the week for me…and twice on Sunday!

20130128-070711.jpgJody, our server, recommended the Ransom Scramble when I asked what her most popular breakfast was. The home fries and scrambled eggs come with cheddar cheese and I chose to add sausage and roasted red peppers. It was a bite that brought me back to mom’s cast iron skillet dinner. It comes with toast and there were many varieties with wheat, white and cinnamon raisin baked in house. I chose the fresh butter slathered cinnamon raisin bread.

Oh wait, now I remember the third person who suggested Knead The Dough…it was my friend Kim, pictured here with Savannah, the antique pig decked out with more bling than a three year old playing dress up.

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She used to teach down the road and loved to come in for the egg salad.

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She had it on untoasted Italian bread and the chucks of egg squished out at every bite, just like good egg salad should. I’ve always loved eating the rest of my sandwich with a fork.

Kim and I enjoyed our food so much we barely spoke. If you know us you may think you witnessed another miracle at Lourdes.

The staff and owner are the nicest folks you will ever meet. Patty, the owner and Jody are pictured here with their delicious plates.

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Patty chat with us for a while, explaining their history and evoking a friendly feeling. They have been around for 10 years

20130128-074307.jpg I think this is Jessica but I was so enraptured when she spoke I stopped being a food writer and began being a fan without a pad of paper.

The people that work there are either great actors or really love the place. The people that eat there were either coincidental props or happy patrons.

As for me, I was able to spend some time with a dear friend with whom I share a love for singing and writing and meet some new people who wanted to feed me. That combo plate was as good as it gets.

Bonus…while paying my bill I saw some unsliced cinnamon raisin bread and purchased a loaf. I sliced it the next morning and here is what I saw

20130128-070821.jpgIs it me or is that bread smiling at me? Yes or no does not matter because I could only smile back.

Have a yummy day!

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Get to Know Jude The Foodie

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Transcript of an interview between Jude The Foodie and Jey Case

Interviewer: Jey Case (JC)

IntervieweeJude The Foodie (JTF)

Interview Setting: A rich imagination

Affiliation with Interviewee: They have so much in common they could be the same person

(Start of Interview)

JC: Hey Jude, it’s very nice to meet you. Do people ever do that…say “Hey Jude?”

JTF: Quite often, Jey.

JC: You have a great name. How did that come about?

JTF: Well, my maiden name is Judith Anne Russo and my family called me Judianne when I was a girl. We all had mashed up names back then. It was the ‘60’s. My father actually starting calling me Jude and that name stuck when I got older. Funny though, I still introduce myself as Judi Caserta (married my college sweetheart in 1980) so there is constant confusion what to call me.

JC: Not exactly the answer I was looking for but interesting, I guess. To be more specific, how did the name Jude The Foodie come about?

JTF: A few years ago a friend of mine was starting an online newspaper to serve our small community which was always under represented by the city newspaper. He asked me to give him some ideas as he posted content and eventually asked me to be a food and wine columnist. I think I used to refer to myself as a foodie so one day he changed the title to Jude The Foodie. I guess you could say “the rest is history.”

JC: You must have quite a resume in the cooking world. Did you go to culinary school?

JTF: No Jey, I did not. I went to Canisius College and studied accounting.

JC: Oh. Did you do graduate work in the cooking field?

JTF: No again, Jey. I work at Canisius in the athletic department. My title is Assistant Athletic Director for Business Affairs. I did my graduate work in Sports Administration.

JC: You’re not giving me much, Jude The Foodie. With your completely unrelated background in Accounting, how did you end up a foodie?

JTF: To begin Jey, accounting and baking are actually intimately related. Baking is very exact where even a teaspoon of something can change the chemical outcome. In accounting we always have to balance. It is the same type of person who spends two hours looking for $1.97 or starts measuring the dry ingredients all over again when they lose count because their phone rang.

And cooking? Well, cooking is not nearly as exacting but is a fantastic creative outlet for me much like music and singing.

JC: You sing?

JTF: I do. I used to sing in church primarily but sadly don’t have the time these days. My singing niche is unique. I sing the National Anthem before sporting events. A few highlights include singing for all of the major teams in Buffalo including the Bill’s, Sabre’s and Bison’s. I’ve sung at Shea Stadium for the New York Mets, in Toronto for the Blue Jays and Raptors, the Cleveland Indians and the Ducks at the Pond in Anaheim.

JC: What does singing the national anthem at sporting events have to do with being a foodie?

JTF: Not a thing. I just thought it would be cool to tell you.

JC: Thank you. But let’s get back on track, shall we? With your analytical background, how is it you began to identify yourself as a foodie.

JTF: I’ve always been a foodie but didn’t know there was a word for it until the last number of years. There’s a name for everything now, you know that? I laughed so hard the other day when I heard someone talking about “home gating” and after listening for a few minutes realized they were talking about having a party at your house during a football game. Seriously? We’ve been doing that for years. Who knew? Oh, and the Weather Channel now names winter storms. Can you believe that? It’s all kind of silly if you ask me. What was your question again?

JC: You are easily distracted, aren’t you?

JTF: Me? No…well, maybe.

JC: When did you first realize food held a fascination for you?

JTF: Ever since I was a little girl most of my memories with my mom involve either cooking or reading. She used to take me to the library every Saturday. I loved that. I used to sit in a leather wing back chair by the fireplace in the historic building in my small town and read. When we went home she would usually bake something.

She often made pie. She baked typical round pies in the winter and created sheet pies in the summer to feed me and my cousins after getting out of the swimming pool. It seemed like it was every weekend but that’s my child like memory. She did everything by hand and had the “touch” with the pie crust. She could tell just how much ice water to add to get the dough into a ball. She rolled it out with the precision of a diamond cutter. It was flaky and tender at the same time. To this day I still cannot make a crust like my mother’s. I can bake cakes, cookies and other confections with ease but pie crust is still my nemesis.

JC: What is the first thing you remember making by yourself?

JTF: Up until I was 14 or so cooking was a spectator sport. I think it may have been that incident when I was 8 and ended up in the emergency room in anaphylactic shock that may have made my mother squeamish about letting me help. It was Christmas time and I begged her to let me help with the cookies. She handed me a bag of nuts, a nutcracker and a pick to remove the meat from the shell. How handy is it that nuts come shelled these days?

Anyway, one for me, one for the bowl until I could hardly breath and I was one big curly haired hive. My helping days were over.

As a pre-teen I subscribed to Seventeen MagazineIn January, 1972 this magazine began my path as a foodie. One of the cover articles was titled Bread: Bake Your Own. And I did. It came out pretty well, too. Prior to that baking experience my grandmother, who lived next door, was the primary bread baker in the family. She made everything from loaves of bread to English muffins. She made the best pizza in the world and even tried her hand at making bagels.

JC: That bread sounds so good. Did your grandmother have a big influence on your life as a foodie?

JTF: Both of my grandmothers did, actually. They both made different things that were family favorites. My paternal grandmother prepared a St. Joseph’s Day feast every year. I still have the actual table used for the meal in my garage. It’s huge and we use it outside for picnics and celebrations.

One of my favorite memories about my grandmothers was when my maternal grandmother (the bread maker next door) and my paternal grandmother collaborated to memorialize the Easter bread recipe.

Let’s just say my grandmothers were not the best of friends. One glorious day when the bickering mothers-in-law declared an unspoken ceasefire, my one grandmother went about baking while the other took the actual “hands full of this and hands full of that” and measured it with cups and spoons and recorded it so we can make the recipe today. I try to bake it every year and can still smell the house in my memory. Actually the smell of anise permeates our house for weeks after baking this bread.

JC: Do you still like to bake bread? Do you have a bread making machine?

JTF: I love baking bread but don’t have as much time as I used to. I do not have a bread making machine but have that handy dough hook attachment to my beloved Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. I actually adapted my grandmothers Easter Bread recipe to my Kitchen Aid and it cuts the prep time in half. All I have to do it make it twice to get the same number of loaves as I used to.

Baking bread is, to me, the single thing that makes a house smell like a home.

JC: You talk about smell a lot. Why is that?

JTF: I have always been very sensory. I can remember as a little girl walking up my driveway when I got off of the school bus trying to guess what was for dinner. I would stand outside the door and smell and announce to my mother what was for dinner before asking her. It was like a game to me and those memories of finding my mother keeping our wonderful home still make me happy.

As I got older and would come home from college she would be sure to have something wonderful on the stove or in the oven for my homecoming. The smell is the first hug of food.

JC: But it’s said that “you eat with your eyes first.” Do you think that’s true?

JTF: Oh, I agree. Pretty food is important. But, it does not need to be fancy to be pretty. You could put a yummy beef stew into a pretty bowl and find that very appealing. I leave the towering entrees and sculpted garnishes for the pros.

JC: Are you sorry you never went to culinary school?

JTF: I am not the least bit sorry I did not go to culinary school. I’m a home cook. I went to the cooking school of mom, did my graduate work with my dozens of cookbooks and my post-graduate work with the Food Network and the internet.

Cooking is a wonderful creative outlet that has gotten me through some very difficult times in my life including the deaths of my first son, my father and my brother. I have had a lifelong struggle with my weight and cooking has actually helped.

JC: How has cooking helped you with your weight issues?

JTF: Nearly two years ago I had lap-band surgery to help me lose weight. It took me about two years to make that decision because the unknown life after surgery was scary. I had no idea what would happen. The result for me, since I went into it with my whole heart, was I learned to put food into its place in my life. It was no longer an obsession (I would wake up in the morning and plan my day based on what I was going to eat and where I was going to eat it. When fast food restaurants started accepting credit cards I gained 20 pounds almost immediately.)

I learned that the first few tastes are all you really remember. And I can taste almost anything. I now regularly order appetizers for my main meal and enjoy everything I eat. If I taste it and do not like it, I stop eating it.

The clean plate club is dangerous. We really must stop thinking that if you don’t eat all of your food someone else will not be hungry. That’s just silly.

Food brings me joy and I love sharing the joy!

JC: Do you think your lack of formal training diminishes your message?

JTF: Not being a trained chef does not diminish my message. Actually, I think it supports it. When I write, it’s just you and me talking to each other. I encourage folks to interact with me because I think monologues are boring. When you walked into a classroom and you knew your teacher was going to talk at you for 50 minutes didn’t you sort of turn off? I know I did. Boring!

Everything I write can be discussed. Every recipe I create is ready to jump in your pot. I want people to make good food.

JC: I understand you have big news: is it true your column will be picked up by WNYPapers.com?

JTF: Yes, for the next 13 weeks Skip and Josh and their crew will be posting my Jude The Foodie column every Monday. I am so excited to expand my audience and express my food and life perspective.

My tagline is “Living a “Glass Half Full” Life!” and having the opportunity to share this with the Grand Island, Niagara Wheatfield and Lewiston Porter communities is a wish fulfilled.

JC: What makes your writing in WNYPapers.com different from JudeTheFoodie.com?

JTF: Good question, Jey! Nothing about my writing really changes. I will continue to post columns about good food, good drink and living a glass half full life. What is different is that the original column will run on WNYPapers.com for one week and then be archived on my JudeTheFoodie.com website.

I’m really excited about the exclusive contest we will have on WNYPapers.com. Often on my website, JudeTheFoodie.com I post Quick Bites or Quick Sips to briefly describe something I either prepared or had at a restaurant. Each month we will award a prize to someone who submits their favorite Quick Bite or Quick Sip based on the monthly theme. Only readers of WNYPapers.com will be able to enter. I think it would be fun to get restaurant patrons involved and get more than one foodie perspective.

And there are prizes! Who doesn’t love prizes?

JC: Why WNYPapers.com? Why now?

JTF: You would never know by reading city newspapers that most people do not live in cities. Don’t get me wrong, life without city newspapers would be a life I would not like to know.

But local publications like the Lewiston-Porter Sentinel, the Island Dispatch and the Niagara-Wheatfield Tribune add life and connection to my writing. This happens to be my hometown but you don’t have to be from here to understand my writing and my message.

My goal is to bring you back to the great memories food can provide, make good food with you and help you make those same memories for your loved ones.

JC: Well Jude, we will see you online.

JTF: Thanks Jey. This interview was fun.

Good Morning French Toast

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My son was home this summer after graduation from college. His only “job” was to study and take the CPA exam. Before two of the three tests (four in all) he took this summer I made him his favorite “go to” power breakfast.
In a large bowl, preferably a pie plate, add first five ingredients.

20121103-101052.jpgBeat until combined.

20121103-101111.jpgSlice bread in half length wise from top to bottom.

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20121103-114351.jpgAdd to the egg mixture being sure to coat all sides of the bread. Let sit while heating a griddle.

Heat a griddle (or a heavy skillet – you will have to do the toast in a few batches) to medium heat. Add butter and spread over skillet.

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Cook first side until the bread moves easily, no more than three minutes. Flip bread and cook for about two more or until bread is golden brown.

My son takes his final part of the exam on Monday…what I wouldn’t give make him some French Toast for his good luck breakfast!

Have a yummy day!

Raisin Bread French Toast

Servings: 3
Prep time: 0:20
Categories: Bread, Breakfast, Egg, Main Dish
Source: JudeTheFoodie.com

Ingredients

• 2 Eggs
• 1tsp Cinnamon
• ½ tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
• 1Tbsp Granulated Sugar
• 1Tbsp ½ and ½ or milk

• 3 Slices of Raisin Bread
• 1tsp Butter

• Pancake Syrup
• Preserves
• Flavored Whipped Butter

Directions

In a large bowl, preferably a pie plate, add first five ingredients. Beat until combined.

Slice bread in half length wise from top to bottom. Add to the egg mixture being sure to coat all sides of the bread. Let sit while heating a griddle.

Heat a griddle (or a heavy skillet – you will have to do the toast in a few batches) to medium heat. Add butter and spread over skillet.

Cook first side until the bread moves easily, no more than three minutes. Flip bread and cook for about two more or until bread is golden brown.

Plate two pieces per serving (or more :o). Top with your favorite toppings.

Francesca had hers with Einsteins Pumpkin Schmear. http://www.einsteinbros.com/

from http://therecipeboxapp.com

When Was The Last Time You Had A BLT?

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Three different people I chat with yesterday said they were going to have a BLT for dinner after I told them I was going to my mother’s house for BLT’s. And, I know you can actually smell the sandwich in your mind…heck, you can even hear it, can’t you?

20120913-131534.jpgThe bread is crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. You have to open wide because you piled the inside with crisp lettuce, fresh tomatoes and bacon perfectly cooked to crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. But bacon is impossible to cook that way, isn’t it? Nope and I’ll explain how in a minute. For now, just close your eyes and taste that first bite.

Want one for dinner tonight? Here’s what you do:

At the store buy a fresh white artisan loaf in the bakery. I bought this one at Wegman’s.

20120913-132303.jpgBuy unsliced bread so you can slice it yourself. I like my bread so think it won’t fit in the toaster.

20120913-132433.jpgPick up one big beefsteak tomato for two sandwiches. Get any crispy lettuce (I actually like Iceberg, believe it or not) but we used some Romaine my mom had in the refrigerator. I tried to get some slab bacon cut in the deli (count on 4 thick slices per sandwich) but they actually ran out earlier. Who knew there would be such a big run on bacon? Instead I bought thick sliced bacon which was just fine.
20120913-133033.jpgLast, and save the arguments and debates for my Facebook page, you need to use real mayonnaise. Not low-fat or shudder to think, non-fat because if you are blowing it on the bacon why on earth pollute it with fake mayo.

 

Also, when I say mayo you could also substitute a yummy aioli.20120913-133519.jpg

Begin by folding each piece of bacon in half and putting it into a heavy skillet on medium high heat and cooking the first side until crisp. Turn each piece and cook to crisp outside then drain on paper towels. When you fold the bacon you get the crispy outside tender inside I described earlier

 

20120913-133957.jpgTo assemble the sandwich, slice the bread into thick slices (3/4″-1″) and toast on the top rack of your broiler outside first. Turn over when golden (remember, bread goes from brown to burned in seconds so watch carefully). Put two pieces of bread on each plate. Slather each piece of bread with mayo. Cut tomato into 1/4″ slices and place on one piece of bread per sandwich. Layer four slices of drained bacon on each tomato and then the lettuce. Cover with other piece of bread.

20120913-134131.jpgPush down to smash the sandwich then cut in half in a quick motion with a sharp knife.

Admire it. Smell it. Photograph it and enjoy.

 

Have a yummy day!

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Lewiston Jazz Food Crawl: Think Open Container!

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I’m really excited about the Lewiston Jazz Festival for a whole bunch of reasons. First, I’m singing with Accidental Jazz at 1:00 pm at the Orange Cat on Saturday. At 8:00 pm I sing honoring Canada and the United States prior to the headliner on the mainstage. Cool!

But, what I love most is eating my way up and down Center Street. And, better yet, I can hold my glass of wine and walk down the street. Very civilized! To start, I will likely step off the street and walk down those cool steps to Hops N Vines and pick up what ever their glass du jour happens to be.

You can eat everything from sushi from Wegman’s and crepes from Holy Crepe. KAD Vending is making fried dough…fry dough for me and you have a friend forever!

Pigasus Roasters is making sweet corn and sweet potatoes along with something called stout cookies…call me intrigued. If you want a sweet potato pie look no further than Specialty Pies by Shirlene. The Country Popper is serving up kettlecorn, Singer Farm Naturals has dried fruit and you can get nachos, cookies and flavored popcorn from JD Enterprise/The Nut Hut.

20120824-003354.jpgDo you want pizza? No problem. Brio Pizzeria and Pizza Amore will take care of that.

There are sandwiches and sides offered by many of our favorite food vendors. Water Street Landing has sliders on the menu (brisket and crab) and a bread pudding (yum)! Fortuna’s has a marinated grilled chicken breast and Billy’s Beef has a tropical fruit bowl and funnel cakes. The Brickyard Pub & BBQ is serving their famous pulled pork sandwich along with a brisket sandwich. Both the Silo and Melloni’s are serving hamburgers and hot dogs. Each are also serving up sausage and peppers.

20120824-003024.jpgI don’t think there are very many better smelling foods than juicy sausage and fragrant peppers and onions grilling to a perfect crisp on an open fire. Do you agree?20120824-004155.jpg

The new kids on the block, Town Hall American Bistro, are serving Chorizo Lollipops and I cannot wait to try them. Casa Antiqua have their famous rice balls and Artichoke French makes a dish that is best eaten with some crusty bread to sop all the juice. Two of my favorites, filet of beef and ahi tuna are on the Wine on Third menu. Corn Fried Chicken Tenders with Black Bean Dirty Rice and Jazz Sour Cream (that’s the spirit!) can be found at Tin Pan Alley’s food stand. Seas the Day Seafood are preparing coconut shrimp and Louisiana Crab Cakes along with some very decadent dessert items. Macri’s Italian Grille has fried mozzarella along with meatball sandwiches, stuffed shells and rolatini. I am going to save some room for Syros Souvlaki and rice pudding.

Sweet Melody’s will tickle your sweet tooth with Gelato, Sorbert, Chocolate Frozen Bananas. DiCamillo Bakery has their famous ice cream sandwiches.

The Lewiston Village Pub is going to keep us guessing!

Are you going just for the music or are you going to partake in the food and drink? Let me know what you are most looking forward to eating.

Have a yummy Jazz Festival!

Antique Recipe: Easter Bread

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I’ve always associated life’s highlights by sound and smell. Earth Wind and Fire’s song “September” (the coincidental current song on my iPhone) blasting out of someone’s dorm room signaled the completion of their last final. Whenever I smell rose water I think of my grandmother’s bathroom. When I smell anise I think of Easter bread.

Every Easter my Gramma Massaro would bake it from a recipe I assume was passed down to her by her own mother.

The recipe was in the recipe box also called her memory. Nothing was written down.

Imagine that!

My Gramma Russo would ask her every year for the recipe and all she would say was “you know, Mary, I put in flour, butter and anise oil…some eggs and yeast.” When asked how much of each she would shrug. “A hand full of this…a little of that.”

So one day in our kitchen, two power house Italian grandmothers coexisted in the single mission of preserving a family tradition. While one woman went about making the bread the other used conventional measuring tools and accurately recorded the ingredient list and the directions.

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I have been making this bread since I’ve been married the Saturday before Easter. When it is done I pack up baskets and cover them with pretty linen and lug them to church to be blessed.

Back then, I did everything by hand, including working in all the eggs and kneading until the glossy elastic feel a good bread has before its first rising. Since getting my stand mixer (one of my most beloved kitchen appliances) I modified the recipe to allow me to make six small loaves and still have some day left to do other Easter preparations.

Original Easter Bread Recipe (Makes 6 large loaves)

9 Cups Flour
½ Tsp Salt
3 Pkgs Yeast (dissolved in ½ cup warm water)
1.5 Cups Warm Milk
1 ½ Sticks Butter
8 Eggs (keep some for egg wash)
1 Tsp Anise Seeds
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Tsp Anise Extract (1/2 tsp anise oil)
Make a well in the flour. Combine milk, melted butter (warm, not still hot), beaten eggs, salt, seeds, extracts and beat well. Add to the flour well.
Add yeast and warm water to flour in the well. Mix with hands until smooth. Put a little flour on hands if dough is sticky.

Once everything is mixed into the dough, put a little oil on your hands and knead for 10 minutes until the dough is mushy. Put a little oil in a bowl at least twice the size of the dough and put in warm place for about 1 ½ hours until doubled in bulk. Punch down. Rise again 15 minutes.

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Arrange racks in oven so there is room for dough to rise. Insert picture of oven racks and sheet pans. Have one rack on the bottom, skip a slot then set the other. Preheat oven 350 degrees. Lightly grease two metal sheet pans. NOTE: do not have sheet pan touch the oven wall or the other pan. The loaves will burn. Have only one sheet per rack.

Cut dough in half. Cut each half into thirds. Try to make them even so the loaves. You can use a scale to even them out.

Each dough ball becomes one loaf. One at a time, divide dough into three even pieces. Roll them into even length strings and gently pinch the three strings and tuck end under.

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Braid each loaf and set on sheet pan. For large recipe, bake no more than two loaves per sheet. You can put three loaves per sheet for the smaller recipe Brush with beaten egg to cover.

Bake large loaves 40 to 50 minutes and small loaves 35 to 45 minutes. They are done when the bottom is a light brown and sound hollow when tapped.

Converted Easter Bread Recipe for Stand Mixer (Makes 6 small loaves)

6 Cups Flour
1/3 Tsp Salt
2 Pkgs Yeast (dissolved in 1/3 cup warm water)
1 Cup Warm Milk
1 Stick Butter
5 Eggs
2/3 Tsp Anise Seeds
2/3 Tsp Vanilla Extract
2/3 Tsp Anise Extract (1/3 tsp anise oil)
The original recipe is done by hand and the converted recipe works well with a stand mixer but could be done by hand to be more manageable. Follow your mixer’s method for adding flour. When I make mine I prepare the wet ingredients and work in 4 ½ cups flour then add in ½ cup flour until the dough is silky. I kneaded it another 4 minutes on the “stir” setting.

Rise, prepare loaves and bake according to original directions starting at oven arrangement.

There was much discussion this weekend about Easter bread traditions. My grandmother braided the dough and covered them with an egg wash to make them shiny and crisp. My husband’s grandmother baked hers with a hardboiled egg tucked in. Some make it more like a dessert bread covering them with candies and a sugar glaze. I am not saying they are wrong…just a different tradition than I grew up with. And, that’s OK with me – keeping up the family tradition is the key. And, it’s never too late to start!

May the blessings of Passover and Easter fill you with love and life.

Have a yummy holiday