Quick and Delicious Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Quick and Delicious Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

These muffins are delicious and SO easy to makePumpkin Chocolate Chip goodness!  Using a yellow cake mix makes this recipe a snap!

Quick and easy to make using a cake mix!

Ingredients

1 yellow cake mix
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 1/2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1/4 Tbsp ground cloves
1/2 Cup brown sugar (optional)
1 Cup chocolate chips

Heat Oven to 350 degrees F

Mix Dry Ingredients

Combine the cake mix, cinnamon, ginger, ginger, cloves and brown sugar.  (If you’re going for healthier, skip the brown sugar.  It won’t be quite as sweet but still tastes great)

Add Pumpkin

Stir just until mixed.

Toss in chocolate chips.

A cup is good, but more is always better!

Spoon batter into muffin tins

Recipe makes 12-16 regular-sized muffins.

Bake

Bake 20-24 minutes at 350 degrees F.  When done, poke with a toothpick- it will come out clean (unless it gets a chocolate chip, of course!).

EAT!

Click below for the printable recipe

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Recipe

Yeast Starter: Baking Day

Yeast Starter: Baking Day

Adventures with Bob

We’re ready – it’s today! – we get to make bread with our home-grown leavener. (Bob got two feedings yesterday so he would be ready. The second one was right before I went to bed.)
Make your own yeast starter for regular or sourdough bread. It's baking day!

 6:10-15 a.m.

First things first – choose your flour. I chose to do a wheat/white mix – about half and half. I like to use fresh-ground wheat, for a lot of reasons. It hasn’t had a chance to start losing any of the nutrients, it’s cheaper to buy wheat berries than pre-ground, it’s fun, etc.For reference, I weigh my flour, as it’s more accurate. Whole wheat flour is 114 g in a cup. All purpose flour is 120 g.As the wheat ground, I grabbed the first cup of flour and scalded it. You do this by mixing in boiling water. About 1 1/2 cups of water for the 1 cup flour. Then mix in another 1 1/2 cups of water, this time cold. Give the mixture a chance to come back to room temp. (By the time my wheat was done, and I’d put the water on in the garden, and gotten dressed, it was ready. I walked away about 6:30, came back around 7:00.)

Why scald? Well, you don’t have to. But it adds flavor, and can make the dough more tender. I don’t know more than that.

The recipe I’m using calls for 10 cups of flour. So if I were making a smaller batch, I’d scald less flour.

Next comes the mixing. Any recipe you want to use is fine. Everything goes into the bowl but the salt. You’ll add that later.
Yeast Starter: Kneading Dough

Once a shaggy dough forms, you’re good to stop mixing. Cover and walk away. You want to let it sit for up to an hour – but give it at least 15 min. This gives the flour enough time to soak up the water. It also lets protein chains lengthen. And if you want that sourdough flavor, you want that fermentation to have enough time to start developing.

7:45 a.m. 

When you come back to it, add the salt. Please don’t use iodized salt! Any other salt should be fine, but try to use a finer grained salt rather than the giant crystals, as those can tear up the strands of gluten.Then comes the kneading. You want to knead it really well. This takes time – plan on at least 10 minutes.

 

8:00 a.m.

Now your dough needs a chance to raise. I put it into a large glass bowl and used tape to mark how high it came – that makes it easier to see how much it’s actually risen. Cover with plastic wrap, and a kitchen towel. Now Bob’s dough needs to sit somewhere warm for a while. I left it basking in the sunshine coming in through the window. It would be plenty warm – outside temp at 8:00 a.m. is 80 degrees.

We’ll come back to check on it later!

Yeast Starter: Raise Dough

Partway through the morning

You can knock the dough back by gently pushing on it. This gives the bread a chance to further develop the flavor.

12:30 p.m.

Time to divide and shape the dough! I divided by weight – I did 1 3/4 pounds of dough. This was pretty close to even. The 4th loaf was at 1 lb 6 oz – so I took a pinch from each of the other loaves to make them all fairly even. Another option would be to break that last load into smaller pieces and you could make out as with them once you heat the oven. (I put the dough in bowls as I divided to make it easier to weigh.) be aware – the dough is sticky!

 

Yeast Starter: Bread raising prep
Once that was done, I got out some bowls and lined them with cloth napkins, rubbing plenty of flour into them. Why? Well, unlike commercial yeast, a natural leavener takes longer to raise and could use a little support. There are proving bowls you can use for this, but as I don’t yet have any, this will do.
Yeast Starter: Shape Dough
To shape the dough, dump it out on a lightly floured surface. You don’t want too much flour! Sticky dough is good. I pushed it down a bit so it was fairly flat, then folded the sides in (folding one edge to the middle, bringing the edge across in to meet it). Then I pushed down and folded in again. If that seems good, stop there – if not, do that again.
Now, dough should be somewhat roundish. Put your hands on the far side and pull it toward you, letting the dough roll very slightly on your work surface. Turn the dough a quarter turn and so that again. Continue until the dough has a nice, tight, smooth top. (The one in the picture is about done.)
Now, set it gently into your prepared proving basket (makeshift like mine, or real ones) WITH THE SEAM ON TOP. Now, re-cover the loaves with plastic wrap and a towel. You can walk away again for a while.
I left the bread to raise in a warm place for a couple hours (I put my heating pad under them and turned it to low).

A couple hours later…

Turn the oven to 500 degrees. I heated a baking stone at the same time, in order to keep the oven from losing heat, especially when opening the oven.Turn the raised loaves out of the proving basket and into your pans. With a thicker dough the loaf can go directly onto a baking stone, but these loaves were very loose. Another great option is a Dutch oven.When is it done? You can check the internal temperature of the loaves with a stick thermometer – it should read about 190 degrees. Today it took about 40 minutes.

 

Now comes the hard part – not cutting into it! Allowing the bread to cool for an hour before cutting into it allows for a little carry-over cooking, and helps keep the loaf from being gummy on the inside.

Yeast Starter: Bread!

I forgot…..
I usually add some good slashes to the top of the loaves before baking them. I tried on these loaves, but the dough was so wet it didn’t work very well. However, in the picture, it shows one that sort of worked. So if you want to add something about that, you can. Why would you slash to tops? It gives the steam a place to escape, which helps get that great crust. It also gives a place for the loaves to raise into (didn’t actually happen on mine….). There are different patterns you can use. Unless I’m mistaken, bakers use the pattern to mark what type of bread it is. (I believe this is different by baker, but I don’t know…)
How did we get to this point?  See the 3-part series here.
   Yeast Starter Day 1, an easy, natural starter for making regular or sourdough bread.   Make your own yeast starter for regular or sourdough bread
Yeast Starter- Day 2 through 10 (or so)

Yeast Starter- Day 2 through 10 (or so)

Day 2

We’re on our way to having a yeast starter and baking bread.  Yum!

Make your own natural yeast starter for regular or sourdough bread

Today, and every day hereafter for the next several days you want to cut it back to half the weight. The leftover part can be discarded, or given away as a start, but it’s not strong enough to be used to bake anything yet.   (some people say 10 days, some say a week or two. There’s a test to do to see if it’s ready. I’ll show you that when I get to it.)

So I stirred it well and cut it back down to 100g.

Yeast Starter Day 2- Measure

Then you add it the weight you took out, with a 1:1 ration of flour and water.

Yeast Starter Day 2- Add Water

So here, I added 50g water and 50g flour and stirred again. (I used white flour this time, and it’s a thinner consistency. From here on out I plan to do 25g white and 25g wheat.) Cover it again, and you’re set until you do the same thing the next day. As it gets stronger, I’ll take some before pics where it shows it bubbled up before I stir it.

Day 3

Today Bob doesn’t smell very good. It’s not unexpected – after all, Bob is a blob of flour and water letting off carbon dioxide as he digests his food – but it’s still not exactly pleasant. Kind of a nasty, sour tickle in the nose. We divided him again, and fed him (50g water, 25g wheat flour, 25g AP flour), which really helped. Now he has a sweeter smell. Certainly not like roses, but not so bad.

Day 4

Today when Bob’s hat came off, he didn’t smell quite as ripe as he did yesterday. And once we divided him and fed him, my daughter said he smelled just like bread. Not quite, by my nose, be he did have a sweeter, yeastier smell than he has sported so far.  Also, today we aren’t discarding the extra portion. Instead, we fed “Other Bob” and will give him a home with a neighbor.Yeast Starter Day 4

Day 9

3 hours after being fed this morning (and sat in the window so he’s nice and warm), he was all bubbled up. That’s this picture. So I did the float test. You know your starter is ready to be used when a blob of the starter floats. Bob mostly floats, so I’m thinking he’ll be strong enough to be used tomorrow. I probably won’t actually use him tomorrow, maybe on Monday. But he’s doing well, growing well, and eating well!  (By the way, when I mentioned before that he smelled, the smell is because it’s fermenting and creating alcohol.)

Day 10

Bob is ready!

Yeast Starter Day 10

This morning, when I took Bob’s hat off, the kitchen filled with the delicious smell of yeast. If I closed my eyes, I could imagine I had bread dough raising for the oven. He had also gained light, airy consistency, almost like a sponge dessert. I did not do the float test – as I could tell without it that he was ready.

I fed Bob as normal, as I won’t be ready for a baking day until Monday. So, Bob will see you again the day after tomorrow, when we mix up some dough!

 

To see the other posts in this series, click here.

Yeast Starter Day 1, an easy, natural starter for making regular or sourdough bread.        Yeast Starter: Baking Day, an easy, natural starter for making regular or sourdough bread.

Yeast Starter- Day One

Yeast Starter- Day One

I made some sourdough starter today. It’s an easy, natural starter for making regular or sourdough bread.  It’s more accurate to call it a “natural yeast starter” as it doesn’t actually have to be sour.
Make your own natural yeast starter for regular or sourdough bread

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 Here’s what you need:

Bottled Water
Flour
Bowl
Way to measure (THIS SCALE works great!)
Make your own yeast starter for regular and sourdough bread
So first, I ground my wheat. You can use any kind of flour you like for this, I chose wheat because it has more nutrients for the natural yeast to feed off than white. You could also use rye, pumpernickel, etc. Or a mix. I think when I feed it I’m going to do a combo of white and wheat.

 

Then you use a non-reactive container – glass, food-grade plastic. I put the container on my kitchen scale and zeroed it out. Then I measured 100g of flour. You can use any amount you want, you just need to keep the water/flour ratio 1:1. I’ve found recipes that call for anywhere from 1/4 cup to 4 cups (approx). I used under 1 cup – 1 cup of flour should weigh 120g.

Make your own natural yeast starter for regular or sourdough bread

Then I zeroed out the scale again, and added the same amount of water. Using tap water is NOT recommended, as any chlorine or fluoride in the water can inhibit the yeast growth. If the tap water doesn’t have added fluoride, but does have chlorine, you can let the water sit out overnight to allow the chlorine to evaporate.

Make your own Natural Yeast Starter for regular or sourdough bread

Then I stirred it all together. You don’t need a spoon, hands work fine, but I had a little helper so I decided a spoon wouldn’t be a bad idea. Mine looks pretty thick compared to a lot of them, because whole wheat is much thirstier than plain AP flour. It might be runny, gummy, even the same consistency as fully-made bread dough. It really doesn’t matter.  (so don’t panic)

 

Then cover it with plastic wrap. I found a place that says it’s unlucky if you don’t name your starter, as it’s a living, growing thing, so my kids named it and we gave it a name tag.

Make your own natural yeast starter for regular or sourdough bread

Then you leave it somewhere warm and let it start to work. I’ll keep taking pics and let you know how it goes…..

 

Note: Some people do their start using pineapple juice instead of water, or add grapes into it, etc. to get the natural yeast started from the fruit. It isn’t necessary, although it does work well.

 

Make your own yeast starter for regular or sourdough bread     Yeast Starter: Baking Day, an easy, natural starter for making regular or sourdough bread.

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Yeast Starter, learn to make your own, it's an easy, natural starter for making regular or sourdough bread