Rainy day baking – Grandma’s Blueberry Muffins & Pioneer Bread

Sometimes, rainy days just call for a baking day, and this one especially since my legs still ache from Saturday’s half marathon and I didn’t really want to go anywhere. Since I knew it would be dreary all day, I prepped last night and got the dry ingredients ready for muffins while making a batch of yogurt. I know my little one is often slow in the morning to be hungry, so I got lucky as I made Matt’s Grandmother’s blueberry muffin recipe without hunger demands from him and deliberated what else could fill the dreary day with delicious smells.


Blueberry Muffins from Grandma Aggie (with my alterations)
Yield 12 muffins
2 c. flour (I used 1 c white whole wheat (King Arthur) and 1 c whole wheat pastry)
½ t. salt
1 T. baking powder (2 t. to 2 ½ t. is good at high elevations)
½ c. sugar
1 t. orange or lemon extract (or 1 t. orange zest)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 c. milk
½ c. melted butter
1 c. blueberries (frozen worked out beautifully)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and prep muffin tin.
In medium bowl, blend dry ingredients.
Combine egg, milk, and melted butter in 2 c. measuring cup, and add liquid all at once to dry ingredients. Mix quickly with a wooden spoon until all liquid is absorbed but batter is still lumpy.
Fold in berries, and spoon into muffin tin.
Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan immediately to cool.

So when the little one went down for a nap, I pulled out a new bread recipe that had only one rise and was full of yummy stuff. And since I had to wait for the rise, I figured with the molasses out, I may as well make some gingersnaps my sister Jennifer recommended on her blog from another blog. I thought they were pretty good, and Matt even ate one while sick, but they might be a little heavy on the molasses. I only had blackstrap (which was likely the problem), so maybe I’ll try something a little more mild next time. I only used just a pinch of cayenne, but it added a nice kick to it. I think that much more would have been too overbearing. See the link above for the recipe.


The bread turned out beautifully (for a novice bread baker) and the whole house smells delicious. It’s a nice whole wheat recipe, but I’m not sure how it will do for sandwiches yet. I added about an extra cup of flour to the original recipe, because it seemed really sticky. Even with the extra flour it was still quite sticky, but it worked out okay I think. I let it rise for about an hour and fifteen minutes, waiting for the cookies to finish baking and it was a nice consistency. I might let it got another 15 minutes next time, and bake it an extra five, but it was a really nice, soft, brown bread and wasn’t dense like most wheat breads. It was delicious warm with butter and strawberry jam, because isn’t that the best way to eat warm bread?


Pioneer Bread
Yield 2 loaves

2 ¼ t. yeast
2 T sugar
½ c warm water

1 c. hot milk, but not boiling
2 t. salt
½ c. dark molasses
½ c (1 stick) unsalted butter melted

1 c cold milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
6 ½ c whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep two loaf pans by oiling/greasing and flouring if desired.
In a small bowl, mix together yeast, sugar and warm water. Let sit until foamy (until it’s time to add it).
In a separate, large bowl (my stand mixer bowl), combine hot milk, salt, molasses and butter until dissolved. Add cold milk, beaten egg, and yeast mixture. Stir until combined. Add flour and stir until blended. (This is where I was a bit confused, but I used the dough hook and kneaded it until it slightly pulled away from the bowl sides. It was really sticky dough, but I figured I’d try it on faith at least once.)
Divide dough into two equal portions, shape into loaves, and place in loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour 15 minutes). Bake at 350 for 35 minutes, or until hollow sounding. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Bread will not be as chewy as a double risen loaf, but it is moist and soft, especially for whole wheat bread. Best when served warm with butter and jam.


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