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Smokehouse Cranberry Cheese Bread

Smokehouse Cranberry Cheese Bread

This homemade Cranberry Cheese bread is for certain a WINNER. The texture is flaky and light. The flavor is smoky and cheesy with a little tart sweetness from the cranberries and pure maple syrup. This is the winning recipe from the 2015 National Festival of Breads and it was won by my friend Lisa Keys.

Lisa and I first became friends on facebook many years ago. We both belonged to Cooking Contest Central and have the mutual love for cooking contests. I suppose though I never really got to know Lisa until the tragic event of losing her only son, William. She began to journal the grieving process on her blog, Good Grief Cook. Not only did I get to know her a little better, I had the privilege of getting to know the heart of a very special young man who is now an Angel to many.

L to R: Ronna, Lanie, Patrice, Mary, Lisa
L to R: Ronna, Lanie, Patrice, Mary, Lisa

When Lisa was invited to Kansas to compete with this bread, she invited my husband and I to join her as guests. We drove to Manhattan, Kansas which is just an hour away. It was thrilling to watch her win. I also was able to meet a few other exceptional ladies I’d been wanting to meet too. Ronna Farley is also my sweet friend and she went on to win the contest in 2017.

More about Lisa. She is accomplished in everything she does. She has been successful in her 30-year career as a Physician Assistant and also as a competitive cook. She even won CHOPPED on Food Network! I admire her most on a personal level though. I think she represents STRENGTH, TENDERNESS, WISDOM and PATIENCE. I also TRUST her, especially with baking advice.

Let’s Bake this Bread. Did I mention the texture? It must be the tofu. Everything about this bread is wonderful. It’s simple and snazzy too.

Smokehouse Cranberry Cheese Bread

Lisa absolutely forbid me from “throwing in” the extra ounce of cheese from my block. Notice the recipe calls for 6 ounces not 7. She reminded me of the importance of weighing ingredients. She said I had to snack on that extra ounce. 🙂

For the Recipe and Video tutorial, click here. RECIPE 

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Light Wheat Bread Recipe (Bread Machine)

In the last 10 minutes of the bake cycle I brushed the top with melted butter. OH the aroma of fresh baked bread filling the house. I know my family is going to be so happy to get home this afternoon.

From start to finish, this loaf was made by the bread machine in 4 hours. Wheat flour has a strong flavor and thicker texture. For a loaf of wheat bread you will find recipes using 100% wheat flour or half wheat flour, half bread flour. I decided on this one because it is 1 part wheat flour to 2 parts bread flour. I wasn’t quite sure what “Light” meant but now I know, it was just the color of it!

You are probably wondering about the dry milk in the recipe. Why is it in there? I read that it helps to stabilize the bread. If you want to omit it, I really don’t think it would be a problem, you can omit it all together. You could even replace all of the water in the recipe with milk. But for now, I’m following all bread recipes EXACTLY as written. I’ll save my creativity for cooking contest entries. I’ve learned over the years that following the recipe exactly is how to get the good results you want.

Light Wheat Bread Recipe - The Vintage Cook

“Dry Milk (or milk powder) is a way of enhancing the dough to: Make a softer loaf (due to the milkfat acting as a tenderizer by interfering with gluten production) Add flavor to the loaf. Enhance browning of the crust due to the potential caramelization of the milk sugars.”

Even though this recipe is named, “Light”, it is still pretty earthy and dense. The bread machine is practical, especially if you are making bread once or more a week. It’s most important setting is the process of proofing, which can be troublesome for new bakers.

I’m loving this machine but missing my oven. When I used to make croissants and bagels, I’d hook a heating pad up with a small extension cord and turn my oven into a proofing box.

I really want to get my hands sticky and shape some bread. On to the next!

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Basic White Bread In The Bread Machine

Basic White Bread - The Vintage Cook

Winter approaches. We are ready to snuggle in for a long winters nap. Bread is baking and the sweet smell fills my kitchen. This is Fall, my favorite season. I love Spring too. In the Fall though, time Falls back and gives us a minute to reflect and be thankful. Ahh, the fragrance of bread baking! (more…)

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Grandma’s Favorite Banana Bread

Well, Hello Dears,

It’s me, Grandma!

I’m so glad to be back to The Vintage Cook blog and website. Lanie and I have been busy moving into our new home. She’s kind enough to let me live in the library in the basement.

Oh, I don’t mind, lots of old books to read down here.

Now today, we will talk about Banana Bread. There are a million recipes and they all pretty much look the same, but this is my favorite below. I’ve been making it for years. You may use butter, but actually, I like to use margarine for this one because it stays softer longer, and less browning will happen.

Oh, and of course there is a secret little ingredient, it’s Sour Cream! Yes, sour cream makes the bread have just the right texture. You may even use light sour cream if, like me, you are worried about a big derriere.

I forgot one more little thing. It’s about those ba-nanners. I used to think the darker the better…for bread, completely brown…then one day I was eating my bread and I realized I was eating, “Rotten Banana-Banana Bread.” So I’ve come to the realization that the bananas still need to be yellow, with just some brown on them, not completely brown.(as pictured)

Oh dear, one more thing. This recipe makes the exact amount for THREE small 6-inch tins. You can use the little disposable foil ones too, then give a loaf to your neighbor. If you put all of this batter in a big glass loaf dish, do you know what might happen? The bread might get all over-baked on the outside, and a big puddle of goop on the inside. You don’t want that, do you? Use the small tins dear, because Grandma doesn’t wanta hear your complaining. 😀

Take Care Sweetie Pies,

Grandma Loves Ya.

Grandma’s Favorite Banana Bread

Author: The Vintage Cook
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup margarine or unsalted butter, gently melted
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional for Banana-Nut Bread)
  1. Place peeled bananas in a large bowl, and give a grand-kid a fork. Let the child mash the banana until it’s smooth and slimy. If you can’t find a child, just do it yourself.
  2. Then, put all of the other ingredients in the bowl, one at a time, stirring each one in, as you go.
  3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Spray tins with cooking spray.
  5. Spoon batter evenly into each tin.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes. Keep that oven door closed!
  7. Enjoy warm with a smear of butter.
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