Dehydrating food is all the rage these days — great for summer’s fruit, berry and vegetable bounty, and for making sumptuous, healthy treats for your dogs (not to mention yourself). While it’s possible to dehydrate food in an oven, it’s much more efficient and convenient to use a dehydrator. And making it in your own home means you don’t have to worry about contaminants or adulterated ingredients. (We hear you can also make yogurt in a dehydrator — wouldn’t your dog love that!)
Here’s a recipe for every dog’s favorite: chicken jerky. Before you start, make sure you have a very sharp knife. Also, partially frozen meat is easier to slice, and the thinner the slices, the less time they take to dry.
It will probably take between 3 and 12 hours for the strips to fully dry, depending on how thick you cut them and the exact temperature of your dehydrator. After the first hour, start checking the strips on an hourly basis. To determine the dryness level, remove one strip from the dehydrator, cut into it with a sharp knife and examine the inside. When the meat is completely dried, you won’t see any moisture and it will be the same color throughout. If it needs more time, put it back in for another hour. As it gets closer to being finished, check every half hour.
When your chicken jerky is done, store it in air-tight containers; zip-lock bags work great for this. Refrigerate the containers for an even longer shelf life.
Sweet Potato Chews
Dehydrate at the highest setting 145-155 until done. Drying approximately 6-8 hours will leave them with a chewy texture. For crunchier treats dehydrate longer until the desired consistency.
More Recipes from "Dog Cookies"
Every dog deserves the occasional cookie, but some treats can trigger allergies or tummy trouble. Dog Cookies comes to the rescue with 30 easy-to-follow recipes for healthy, allergen-free treats—including vegetarian and gluten-free treats—so you can find the perfect cookie no matter your dog’s diet.
For the gluten-free Amaranth Waffles recipe, see the Summer 2011 issue of The Bark.
Baking time: 30 minutes in a pre-heated oven
Any type of fish can be used for this recipe, so use whichever your dog likes best.
Caution: Ensure all of the bones are removed from the fish.
Regardless of which fish you use, these biscuits should not be stored for too long. Salmon, for example is quite high in fat, so there is a risk it may go rancid. Store the biscuits in an airtight container, and do not keep them for any longer than two weeks.
Baking time: 30 minutes in a pre-heated oven
A perfect recipe for summer
Stepping out with our furry friends during the sunniest time of the year makes for hot and hungry dogs. This quick, simple recipe is designed to cool off your pup, while providing a delectable, tasty treat! Makes 30-40 cubes, enough to last the summer. Feel free to add other tasty items like raspberries and strawberries, or any of the superfoods listed here (yogurt-fish-honey pops, anyone?).
4 cups yogurt (flavored or plain, non-fat if needed)
Melt peanut butter in microwave for about 30 seconds
Place all of the ingredients into a blender, mixer or food processor and mix well (until smooth)
Pour into ice cube trays or Popsicle trays.
Freeze until firm.
Pop out of the tray (you’ll need a knife) and let your dog enjoy this frozen treat!
Recipe from Pet Guide
Yummy Picnic Recipes
Summertime means picnics and cookouts … and burgers and watermelon for everybody, even our dogs! Next time you gather around the picnic table plan on packing something special for the pups. Bark contributor Natalya Zahn shares her recipe for a dog-delicious burger/bun combo, sweet potato chips and watermelon pops …
BIG DOG BURGER
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl (mix with hands). Form into “burgers” and space 1" apart in a baking dish or on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350˚ for 30 minutes. Cool before serving and store in refrigerator.
PB & JAM THUMBPRINTS
Combine all dry ingredients, then mix in peanut butter, bananas and water. Mix until dough forms. Shape dough into 1" rounds, place on baking sheet and press thumb into centers. Bake at 350˚ for about 15 minutes. Let cool. Heat jam in a saucepan or microwave until liquid in consistency. With a spoon, drip the jam into the center of each cookie. Let stand 1 hour for jam to set. Store in an airtight container.
LIVER CRACKER “BUN”
In a bowl, combine flour, wheat germ and parsley — set aside. Briefly blend liver in a food processor. Add liver to dry ingredients, then mix in oil and water until a sticky dough forms. On a greased cookie sheet, shape bun rounds — about 3" in diameter and 1/2" thick. Brush with egg white and sprinkle sesame seeds over the top. Bake at 400˚ for 15-20 minutes. Buns should be slightly soft in the center when pressed. Cool before assembling burger and serving.
WATERMELON FREEZE CUBES
Cut melon into roughly 3/8" slices. Using cookie cutters, cut shapes out of the flesh of the melon and place on a freezer-safe plate. Chill for 4 hours. Remove from freezer, transfer treats from plate to Ziploc freezer bag and store frozen until ready to eat.
SWEET POTATO CHIPS
Slice whole potatoes into rounds: a 1/4" slice will create a crispier chip, a 1/2" slice will create a chewier chip. Place on a foil-lined sheet. Bake at 250˚ for 2 hours, turning over once. Allow to cool on sheet. Chips should be stored in an airtight container.
Treats that pack a punch
What dog doesn’t love peanut butter? Granola Peanut-Butter Crunchies are a good way to satisfy that craving and add nutritious foods to the mix. (The smell is irresistible, too.) The crunchies can be broken into smaller bits; on our park outings, I put just a couple in my pocket to treat all three of my dogs. Whole or broken up, they pack of punch of flavor. Homemade peanut butter is great, but store-bought is also fine (see this easy peanut-butter recipe). I used a blend of almond/coconut milk to add even more flavor, and for dogs who might be lactose intolerant.
Substitutions: Grated veggies suchas carrots or zucchini can be used instead of the fruit.
Preheat oven to 325°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, or butter and dust with fl our.
Grind all the seeds slightly in a food processor or blender. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium-size bowl. Heat the coconut oil and honey long enough to soften. Beat an egg in a small bowl. Put the peanut butter (best at room temperature) into a food processor, add the almond milk or yogurt and process; add the egg, oil and honey, process again.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing with a wooden spoon. The mixture should hold together well enough to be easily shaped into balls; if it seems too wet, add some whole-wheat fl our. Shape into 1½-inch balls and place on the baking sheet; they can be spaced closely. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.
(Optional: halfway through, turn each granola ball over so they brown evenly.) Cool on a rack, then store in an airtight jar. These treats can also be frozen.
Makes about 3 dozen
Whether you use it for baking treats, making pills more enticing, making a cool frozen treat*, Kong snuffing, or simply letting your dog lick a dab off your finger—dogs love their peanut butter. What better way to ensure that this delicious food is safe and nutritious than to make it yourself? It couldn’t be simpler to do.
Small Batch PB
Process until the PB is the desired consistency. It is important to note that PB goes through different stages: starting with a crushed “blob,” then to a paste with the consistency of a pie dough, and to a thicker paste before it finally becomes a creamy "butter." It can take around 3 minutes for the oils to be released so the "paste" can become a butter. When I first made PB I wasn’t aware of all the stages, so stopped at “thicker paste” which made it difficult to spread, even though the dogs didn't seem to mind! But only a minute or two more processing time results in a perfectly creamy peanut butter. Lesson here is to keep processing. If your blender or food processor gets too warm, turn it off, and let it cool, and continue processing. It seems like almost magic once you get to that buttery stage.
For crunchy style PB, chop up ¼ cup or so of peanuts, then using a spatula, add to the finished processed PB.
Use a cup of peanut butter, 1/2 mashed banana, mix with a little water. Put into ice cube trays (silicone ones work well). Freeze for a few hours. Dogs love these delicious lickings.
HOW TO DO IT
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Measure wheat fl our and oatmeal, mix with baking powder.
3. Add eggs, yogurt and sunfl ower oil, stir well.
4. Carefully add the washed blueberries.
5. Take off clumps with a tablespoon and place on an oiled baking pan.
6. Bake about 25 minutes.
Stick a toothpick into a scone. If dough still sticks to it, bake the scones a few more minutes.
TIP: For a small dog, use a teaspoon and make small scones. Reduce baking time to 20 minutes.
Hooked on No-Knead
This past year I have discovered the joys of “fermentation” in the guise of yogurt-making and bread-baking. At the start of the year, I dusted off a yogurt maker that had been long forgotten at the back of the cupboard, and have been keeping all of us (including the dogs, who love it) supplied with this probiotic-loaded, highly nutritious food, you can find the directions to make your own here. I put a spoonful of it to top off the dogs’ meals, or let them lick it right off the spoon.
And, despite living in one of the country’s artisan-bakery hubs, it’s now been over a year since I’ve bought bread. And I must admit I always was a die-heart bread fanatic. So when I heard about the ease of baking your own bread that came via Jim Lahey from the Sullivan Street Bakery (NYC) and his able acolyte, Mark Bittman of the New York Times, I was intrigued.
With my very first loaf turning out great, I was hooked and have been busy baking our own whole wheat, country-style bread using his “no-knead” method, a trend (ahem) rising in kitchens everywhere.
For as long as I can recall, when it came to bread making, the need to knead was my downfall, so the idea of “no-knead” was an enticing come-on. I couldn’t be more thankful for what this simple recipe has given us. Not only does it fill the house with the nothing-better-than aroma of freshly baked bread, it also provides the crunchy delight of olive-oil-laced crouton snacks for our pups and abundant, tasty breadcrumbs for their turkey meatloaf.
Lahey’s basic white bread recipe, which started this craze, can be found here. But whole wheat bread is not only better for you, but one that I especially am fond of, so I was pleased to see that he also has a great cookbook, aptly titled, My Bread, that goes into detail about “pane integrale” whole wheat, rye and many other varieties. This recipe is so simple, not only is there no kneading, but you don’t have to “test’ the yeast, or punch down the rising loaf.
So I suggest that you view the video to learn about the basic technique, but recommend you try the whole wheat version first. The basic difference with the recipe for the white bread version (featured in the video) and the whole wheat (or rye) one is that instead of using 3 cups of bread flour, you use 2 cups of bread flour (be sure to use bread flour and not all-purpose) and 1 cup of whole wheat or rye. I’ve adapted the recipe slightly, so I combine 3 different flours—about 2/3 c of whole wheat, a couple of tablespoons of rye and topping it off with spelt flour (all 3 different types together equal one cup). I also add another tablespoon or so of water, to the 1 1/3 cups of water.
Whole Wheat bread recipe:
2 c bread flour
1 c whole wheat (or a mix of whole wheat, spelt, rye) flour
1 ¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp instant or active dry yeast
1 ⅓ c (plus a scant tbsp.) cool water
Put all dry ingredients into a medium sized mixing bowl, and using a wooden spoon or your hands, mix all the dry ingredients, making sure that the flours are well integrated. Then pour all the water into the bowl, not in one place but over the top of the flours to cover as much as you can. Then mix that it all with a spoon or your hands. That should take only 30 seconds or a minute or so. Cover the bowl with plastic and let rise for 12 to 18 hours at room temperature. It should double in size. (The warmer the room the less rising time, but 12 hours is always the minimum amount of time for the bread to ferment slowly—an important aspect of this recipe.)
After the dough has gone through that first rise, generously flour a surface (like a cutting board or counter top, use white flour for this) and your hands, and remove all the dough from the bowl. It might stick to the bowl, but be sure you get it all out in one piece. You can also use a plastic bowl scraper, but you want to remove all the dough in one piece. With your well-floured hands (to keep them from sticking to the dough), shape the dough by folding and refolding (a few times) and then forming it into a round form (it will be around 6 inches in diameter in a nice round ball form). Gently move the dough unto a well-floured tea towel (do NOT use terry cloth, and you can use cornmeal, or bran instead of flour), cover with either another tea towel or the edges of the towel. Let the dough rest for 1 to 2 hours in a draft free spot. The dough is ready for baking when, after a gentle poke with your finger, it leaves a slight impression. It if doesn’t, wait another 15 minutes and test it again.
Here’s the important part of what makes the magic of this simple baking method work—Lahey’s “oven within an oven” discovery. You will be baking the bread in either a heavy covered 4 ½ quart to 5 ½ quart pot, like an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven, or a 5-quart Lodge cast-iron pot. I like the clay ware La Cloche cooking bell best because I find it easier to place the dough loaf onto it, instead of “flinging” the loaf into a higher sided pot. It is very important that whatever pot you use, that pot stays covered during the preheating and the first part of the baking process. This is the "oven within the oven" trick created by Lahey and, as he describes it, “It accomplishes what classic domed brick ovens do: it completely seals in the baking process so the steam escaping from the bread can do its work to ensure a good crust and a most crumb.”
Half way through this second rise, preheat the oven to 475 degrees. To accommodate a large pot or a La Cloche you will probably need to remove all the racks from the over, except for one on the lower third portion that you’ll be using. I start the preheating ½ hour after the loaf was shaped, so even if it does take 2 hours for the dough to be ready, at least the oven and the pot are nice and hot.
When the dough is ready, carefully remove the pot from the oven, making sure not to place the pot on a cool surface (especially if using a La Cloche), remove the cover, then working quickly, gently flip the loaf over into the pot, so the “bottom” of the dough becomes the top of the loaf. You might have to flour your hands to do this, to avoid the dough sticking to your hands. Don't worry if the “bread,” at this point, looks flat and blob-like. Cover the pot, and again, working quickly, place it on the middle of the oven rack.
Bake for 30 mins., at 475 degrees, the first blast of heat causes the fermenting dough to become “bread” in what is called “over spring.” After 30 mins. remove the lid from the pot and bake the bread for another 10 to 20 minutes. At this point it will definitely look like a loaf of bread. The time depends on how hot your oven is, and how dark you like your crust. By this time your kitchen will be drenched in that lovely, fresh bread aroma, savor it as your loaf cooks.
Remove the loaf from the pot and cool on a rack—while it should be easy to remove it from the hot pot, you might need to use a spatula to gently pry it up from the bottom. I know it is irresistible, but do not cut into the loaf until it is fully cooled, it is still “finishing” the baking process even out of the oven. The bread is said to “sing” at this cooling period, but the “singing” is evidence of the last phase of cooking.
A couple of things to note about storing bread, never ever store it in plastic, it is best just to place the loaf, once you slice it, on the cut side down on an enamel plate. You can store it in a paper bag but do NOT seal it. Or you can use wax paper too.
Yeast: It is more affordable to buy it in bulk instead of in those little packets, so I’ve been buying the 16 oz instant yeast, “Saf Red instant” from King Arthur Flour—it is only $5.95 and that makes a lot of bread. This yeast is the one most recommended by bakers and it has never failed me.
I just bought my second one-pound purchase, the first one lasted almost a year. Make sure to store yeast in the refrigerator. I place a smaller amount into a little glass jar and then store the rest of the yeast in a larger container.
Bread flour: I use King Arthur’s but there are many other good ones—you must use bread flour, all-purpose does not have the protein content for bread.
Whole wheat flour: There are a few great brands, some of them from local millers. The hard red winter wheat flour (In California) from Community Grains is great, so too is the organic whole wheat high protein flour (made from Northern spring wheat) from Giusto’s Vita Grain. King Arthur Flour also has a good whole wheat flour but I urge you to see what your local milling companies have to offer. It really is quite the discovery to learn about how vibrant that sector has become.
Rye and Spelt flours: Arrowhead Mills, Bob’s Red Mill, Hodgson Mill also have good ones.
Even though “no-knead” was invented by Jim Lahey there are many others who have interpreted this method very successfully. I have also used the recipes from Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois’ Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day—I especially like their brioche. There are oh so many videos showing methods and recipes, including Breadtopia.com.
Just go to YouTube and search for “no knead bread,” you’ll be amazed at how many others have been baking bread, so hopefully this will inspire you to start baking your own. Send us photos when you do, would love to see your “loaves.”
Uses for leftover bread:
For croutons, I use whatever is left over as I bake the next loaf (I bake about 3 times a week), slice the bread into small cubes (or whatever size you prefer), place in a bowl and add olive oil mixing the oil well on all the cubes, then place on a cookie sheet and cook at around 350 for 15 to 30 mins.—the baking time depends on how crunchy you like them. I give them to the dogs for extra special treats, sometimes spreading a little homemade peanut butter on them. (I also just started to make peanut butter, another extremely simple thing to whip up.) For the bread crumbs, I heat up some day old (or older) bread, cut it into larger cubes, place in a blender or food processor, and pulse a few times until is the consistency you desire. Some people then bake the crumbs in the oven for a few minutes, but if you heat the bread first you don’t need to do that. You can freeze the bread crumbs if you aren’t going to use them soon.
If you don’t have a good bread knife you will soon be wanting to get one, I found that the Victorinox model 47547 works really great. You should be able to find one for less than $40 (considering that I was looking at knives arranging from $200 to $300, this great find, recommended by Chow, was a bargain).
Small, tasty and charming treats
In Hello, Cupcake, the authors start with basic cake mixes and frostings, and then the fun begins. Using easy-to-find candies, they show you how to make everything from insects to sunflowers. We, of course, were charmed by their “Pup Cakes,” which include 11 dog breeds; we selected the Chocolate Lab.
At the dog park, you know all the dogs but none of the owners’ names. Stir up a batch of cupcakes for the humans, and another for the dogs (try the “Mutt Cups”), and invite everyone to a dog party. You’ll make new friends and may snag a few doggie play-dates too.
For the Chocolate Lab, start with vanilla cupcakes baked in white paper liners. You’ll also need vanilla and dark chocolate frosting, as well as black food coloring. Multiply the ingredients by the number of cupcakes you plan to make.
IMPORTANT: THESE ARE FOR HUMANS ONLY. CHOCOLATE CAN BE LETHAL FOR DOGS.
Spread the top of the cupcake with a thin layer of dark chocolate frosting. Arrange the three mini-marshmallows in triangle on the lower third of the cupcake. Spread a thick layer of dark chocolate frosting over the marshmallows to cover.
Place the one-half piece of the circus peanut directly under the frosted marshmallows to make the tongue. Pipe lines of dark chocolate frosting around the tongue to cover slightly. With the black frosting (made by adding black food coloring to the dark chocolate frosting), pipe two curved lines to define the upper part of the mouth.
Press the jelly bean halves into the frosting to make the eyes, and add the whole jelly bean on its side for the nose. Pipe a small white highlight on each eye. Fold the top end of the taffy ears under and arrange on either side of the cupcake.
From Hello, Cupcake! Irresistibly Playful Creations Anyone Can Make by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. Copyright © 2008 by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Whole Grains, Whole Fun
Dogs love the taste and aroma of their very own ginger cookies—better yet, use a “squirrel” cookie cutter for extra delight.
Makes 5 to 6 dozen cookies.
Roll out dough on floured surface to about ¼ inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut into desired shapes. Combine dough scraps and continue to roll out and cut into shapes until all dough has been used.
Place cookies on ungreased foil-lined baking sheets and bake in preheated 325º oven for 30 to 35 minutes.
From The Home Spa Book for Dogs by Jennifer Cermak, published by Quarry Books, 2005.
Breakfast Oats or Barley
Linda Eckhardt and Barbara Bradley with Judy Kern
Oats and barley are vital canine foods. They are good sources of iron and help cleanse the intestine of impurities. And as if that weren’t enough, this healthy, hearty breakfast food requires no cooking at all!
Makes 2 servings
Variation: you can also add finely chopped apple and stir in a dollop of plain yogurt before serving.
From The Dog Ate It: Cooking for Yourself and Your Four-Legged Friends by Linda Eckhardt and Barbara Bradley with Judy Kern, published by Gotham Books, 2006.
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