Bread products from scratch encouraged by local participation

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Kansas is nicknamed the “wheat state,” as most of us know. But something that makes March more distinct than other months is that it has been deemed “Bake and Take Month” by Kansas Wheat Commission, created from an agreement between the Kansas Wheat Commission and the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers.

During the month of March, Kansas Wheat encourages home-bakers to think about community involvement and spirit by baking homemade goods and giving them to others. Located here in Manhattan, Kansas Wheat has invited participants to become more educated about the importance of home baking and products containing wheat flour.

For this Bake and Take Month, here are some recipes, containing wheat flour, that could bring a smile to people’s faces and incorporate home baking.

Beer Bread
3 cups flour, sifted
3 teaspoons baking powder (omit if using self-rise flour)
1 teaspoon salt (omit if using self-rise flour)
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups of beer (suggested use of a local brew like from Tallgrass Brewing Co.)
1/2 cup melted butter

Preheat the to 375 degrees. Grease a standard 9-by-5-inch bread loaf pan with either butter or cooking spray.

Mix dry ingredients together with the beer. I used Tallgrass Vanilla Bean Buffalo Sweat, a seasonal brew from Manhattan’s local brewery. If a lighter beer is used, the bread will be a lighter color than that pictured. Once fully mixed together, pour the batter into the loaf pan. Make sure the dough is evenly distributed throughout the entire pan. Pour the melted butter on top.

Bake for one hour, then remove pan from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack. Make sure the bread has cooled for at least 10 minutes before removing the loaf from the pan to completely cool.

This recipe is one of the easiest for a quick bread. There are few ingredients, and it would be difficult for someone to screw up. One thing to keep in mind is to make sure to sift the flour. If people don’t do that, the bread will become kind of hard and chewy once baked.

The taste of this recipe is great. When it’s made properly, anyone who loves beer or loves bread will enjoy it. Though people hope it will taste like the beer, it tastes more like bread. The alcohol is also baked out of it.

This recipe is simple, tastes good and is definitely worth making and delivering to others as a gift during “Bake and Take Month.”

Cornmeal Muffins
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg
3/4 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray. Make sure to get the sides, as well as the bottoms.

Mix the butter, egg and milk until well combined. Then, add in the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and yellow cornmeal to the wet ingredients mix and combine until moistened. A few lumps in the batter is OK. Fill the muffin cups about 2/3 to 3/4 full. All 12 cups should be filled.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and a toothpick can come out from the center clean. Cornmeal muffins are recommended to be served hot, but if not, let them cool on a wire rack until they are room temperature.

The results of this recipe had the consistency of a muffin – it was spongy, moist and had a strong flavor. However, the taste of the cornmeal didn’t completely overwhelm the muffin. This recipe is perfect for beginners and, if done well, will achieve a high quality cornmeal muffin that many people will enjoy.

Bakery-Style Chocolate Chip Muffins
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a dozen muffin cups with liners. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and vegetable oil until everything has been mixed together. Add the dry mixture into the wet mixture and fold in gently by hand. Then, add in the chocolate chips and combine throughout.

Fill the muffin tin cups about 2/3 to 3/4 full. Make sure all 12 muffin tin cups are filled. Sprinkle granulated sugar on top of all muffins. Bake for 18-20 minutes or unto a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for five minutes before transferring from the pan to a wire cooling rack.

These muffins make for a simple and sweet alternative gift to give others instead the beer bread or cornmeal muffins. All the chocolate lovers out there will hopefully love this recipe.

The sweetness from the chocolate chips makes this a delectable treat. With the added sugar on top, it brings out the bakery style but from within one’s own kitchen. For those who make or receive these baked goods, they will enjoy the nontraditional way to make homemade chocolate chip muffins.

These three recipes will hopefully be a simple and exciting way to give back to those around you while also participating in Kansas Wheat’s “Bake and Take Month.”

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