Jennifer Tiegs bakes. She bakes cookies, brownies, cakes and other goodies, but in her family, no one has ever had much luck with yeast.
“Everything turned out like hockey pucks,” she admits. “Hockey puck cinnamon rolls. Of course, that never stopped us from eating the whole pan.”
But last year, when Tiegs walked through the Home Arts building at the Spokane County Interstate Fair and saw the yeast breads and other exhibits, she decided it was finally time to tackle that hole in her baking repertoire.
After a year of practice, she surprised herself – and her family – with the first-place bread in the Fleishmann’s Yeast “Bake for the Cure” contest at the fair.
Her whole-wheat Honey Buttermilk Bread took the top prize in the contest, a pink ribbon to signify efforts to find a cure for breast cancer. The fair wrapped up its 10-day run on Sept. 20.
Tiegs, 30, says she started by taking a bread-baking class through Spokane Parks and Recreation to learn the basics.
She really got rolling when a friend gave her a sourdough starter and a trusted recipe. While the snow fell outside, Tiegs kneaded dough by hand and warmed the house baking bread.
The idea for the bread she entered in the fair started when a buttermilk bread recipe she tried bombed three times. Using what she had learned over the year, she tweaked the recipe and changed some of the ingredients to come up with a bread dough that worked … and tasted great.
Tiegs says she learned a few tricks over the year as she baked. Using a thermometer to test the temperature of her ingredients made things easier.
And she says the practice helped her get over the misconception that you have to have to spend the whole day at home to make breads. She’ll put the rising dough in the refrigerator overnight, punch down the dough in the morning and then run errands during the second rise and before baking.
Be persistent while you’re learning, she says: “If it fails on the first try, then it might be the second or third that works for you.”
She’s already looking forward to another hard winter, so she can tackle some more baking and other projects.
Tiegs’ recipe moves on to national judging, where it will compete against 51 other first-place recipes from around the country for a $1,000 grand prize.
Heidi Larson, a busy mom of four who loves entering recipes in area contests, won three ribbons in the company-sponsored contests at this year’s fair – including the top prize in the Ghirardelli Chocolate Championship.
“They are ultra-rich chocolaty cupcakes and I was really proud of the ganache-style frosting,” she says.
Larson looks forward to working on recipes for the contests. “This is the only time of year that I really get to do this, so I specifically plan and set aside time for it,” she says.
She also created a recipe for breadsticks made from a brioche dough, for second place in the Fleischmann’s “Bake for the Cure” contest.
And a friend’s recipe for the Mexican soup pozole served as the starting point for her second-place winner in the Great American SPAM Championship.
Three other area winners will move on to national contests:
•Rebecca Boone of Nine Mile Falls, who won the adults division of the Great American SPAM Championship with her recipe for Summer SPAM Pasta Salad.
•Eleven-year old Kristina Krick of Deer Park, who won the children’s division of the Great American SPAM Championship with a recipe for SPAM Enchiladas
•Anne Martin, of Liberty Lake, for her Zero-Point Summer Salad, first-place winner in the Hidden Valley Ranch Fresh Taste for the Family Contest.
Here are the first-place recipes from this year’s sponsored contests at the fair:
Honey Buttermilk Bread
Jennifer Tiegs of Spokane, first place, Fleischmann’s Yeast “Bake for the Cure” Contest, 2009 Spokane Interstate Fair
1 1/4 cups water
11/4 cups cold buttermilk
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons Fleischmann’s active dry yeast
5 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 tablespoons butter
Combine water, buttermilk and honey in a medium saucepan. Heat mixture on medium to low heat until it just begins to boil, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat and allow to cool to between 110 and 120 degrees. Stir yeast into the buttermilk mixture and allow it to activate undisturbed for 10 minutes.
While yeast is activating, add 4 cups of whole wheat flour and salt to a large mixing bowl. Set aside the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour.
Add the activated yeast mixture and oil to the flour mixture. Mix ingredients together until dough ball is formed. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour as need to achieve a dough mixture that is firm yet slightly sticky to the touch.
Turn the dough ball onto a floured surface and knead for 15 minutes. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
Spray a clean bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Place dough ball in the bowl and allow the dough to rise in a warm, draft-free place until double in size. Punch down dough, reshape ball and allow it to rise for a second time. The rise time will decrease with the second rising.
Punch down dough ball again and shape into two loaves. Spray two loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray. Place the shaped loaves in the pans and allow the dough to rise again.
Once the dough has risen for the third and final time, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Bake loaves for 40 minutes until loaves sound hollow when tapped.
Remove bread from pans and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Brush or smear the loaves with butter.
Yield: 2 loaves
Midnight Madness Cupcakes
Heidi Larson of Spokane, first place, Ghirardelli Chocolate Championship, 2009 Spokane Interstate Fair
For the cupcakes:
2/3 cup butter
3/4 cup Ghirardelli 60 percent Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
11/3 cups all-purpose flour
13/4 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
11/4 cups water
For the topping:
2 cups Ghirardelli 60 percent Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
11/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup Ghirardelli Classic White Chips
For cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter and chocolate chips in microwave, stir until smooth and then let cool.
In large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar and baking soda. Add the Ghirardelli chocolate mixture and water and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Pour into cupcake pan with cupcake papers and bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Cool completely.
For topping: Put chocolate chips and whipping cream in a medium saucepan and heat on medium low, stirring just until chocolate is melted, then remove from heat. Put 1 tablespoon of chocolate topping on each cupcake. Put the remainder of topping in the refrigerator.
When completely cool, using an electric mixer, whip the topping for 1 minute. Spoon it into pastry bag with tip and decorate cupcakes (or spread topping on with knife).
For decorations: Melt the white chips and put in pastry bag with desired tip (sandwich baggie with end snipped works well, too). “Draw” decorations on wax paper, then allow to cool before placing on cupcakes.
Yield: 20 cupcakes
Chewy Coconut Cutouts
Dana Beery of Ione, first place, Karo Corn Syrup, Kids Cookie Contest, 2009 Spokane Interstate Fair
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 cups shortbread cookie crumbs
2/3 cup Karo Dark Corn Syrup
11/2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon shortening
Grease 13- by 9-inch baking pan. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Mix butter and cookie crumbs and press into prepared pan. Bake the crust at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Remove from oven and lower temperature to 350 degrees. Pour corn syrup evenly over crust. Layer the coconut evenly over the syrup. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over the coconut.
Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees or until lightly browned. Let cool completely. Cut into bars or with cookie cutter.
Place chocolate chips and shortening in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 40 seconds. If necessary, microwave for an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, just until chips are melted when stirred.
Dip bottoms of cookies in chocolate. Drizzle remaining chocolate on tops of cookies. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until chocolate is set.
Yield: 2 dozen bars
No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Bars
Anna Wolfe, 7, of Chattaroy, Best No-Bake Cookie, Karo Corn Syrup Kids Cookie Contest, 2009 Spokane Interstate Fair
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup Karo Light Corn Syrup
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups cocoa puffs cereal
1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, heat brown sugar and corn syrup over medium heat on stovetop until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.
Stir in peanut butter and vanilla; mix well. Fold in cereal. Spread into a greased 11- by 7- by 2-inch pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips over cereal mix in pan and place pan in oven under broiler for 1 minute (watch carefully or chocolate can burn).
Immediately remove pan from oven and smooth chocolate with rubber spatula. Refrigerate at least 2 hours and then cut into bars.
Yield: 24 bars
Summer SPAM Pasta Salad
Rebecca Boone of Nine Mile Falls, first place, Great American SPAM Championship, adult division, 2009 Spokane Interstate Fair
1 (12-ounce) package pasta curls
1 (12-ounce) can SPAM Classic
1 medium yellow bell pepper
10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
3 green onions
1/3 cup olives, sliced
1/4 cup cucumber salad dressing
1/3 cup light vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Prepare pasta. Drain in medium bowl.
Cut vegetables and SPAM in strips. Combine SPAM, pasta, bell pepper, tomatoes, onions and olives.
In small bowl, combine dressing, oil and pepper. Add to salad mixture and toss. Cover and chill. Stir gently before serving. Garnish as desired.
Yield: 8 servings
Kristina Krick, 11, of Deer Park, first place, Great American SPAM Championship, children’s division, 2009 Spokane Interstate Fair
1 (12-ounce) can SPAM Classic, finely chopped
11/2 cups Monterey jack cheese, shredded and divided
11/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 cup thick and chunky hot salsa, divided
8 flour tortillas
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
In bowl, combine SPAM, 1 cup Monterey jack cheese, 1 cup cheddar cheese, bell pepper, onion and 1/4 cup salsa.
Spoon cheese mixture down center of each tortilla; roll tightly. Place seam-side down in 13- by 9-inch baking dish. Spoon remaining salsa evenly over enchiladas. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top with lettuce and tomato.
Yield: 6-8 servings
Zero-Point Summer Salad
Anne Martin of Liberty Lake, first place, Hidden Valley Ranch Fresh Taste for the Family Contest, 2009 Spokane Interstate Fair
1 green bell pepper
1 small red onion
1 bunch fresh basil
8 large tomatoes (or 10 to 13 Roma tomatoes)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 package Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix
1 tablespoon seasoned salt
Chop all vegetables into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl. Add vinegar, Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix and seasoned salt. Mix well, cover and let sit in refrigerator at least two hours or overnight.
Yield: 10 servings