Egg substitutes help concoct safe nog

Q: I enjoy eggnog during the holidays but am concerned about using raw eggs. How can I safely make eggnog?

A: You can still make your favorite eggnog recipe at home if you follow some precautions or take some alternative steps to avoid including raw eggs in your recipe. One solution would be to use egg substitutes, which are frozen commercial products that have been pasteurized and are free of salmonella. Another is to make sure the mixture, and consequently the eggs, are cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. The eggnog should then be refrigerated at once. If you are making a large batch, divide it into several shallow containers so it will cool more rapidly. Below are two recipes provided by United States Department of Agriculture for safe homemade eggnog.

Holiday eggnog

1 quart 2 percent milk

6 fresh eggs

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup whipping cream, whipped

ground nutmeg

Heat milk in large saucepan, but do not boil or scald. While milk is heating, beat together eggs and salt in a large bowl, gradually adding sugar. Gradually add the hot milk to the egg mixture. Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan and cook on medium-low heat while stirring until thick enough to coat a spoon. Thermometer should read 160 degrees. If not, continue cooking till that temperature is reached. Stir in vanilla. Cool quickly by setting pan in a bowl of ice or cold water and stirring for 10 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. Prior to serving, pour into a bowl, fold in whipped cream and dust with ground nutmeg. Yield: 2 quarts. Calories: 135 per 1/2 cup. Cholesterol: 120 mg per 1/2 cup

Low-cholesterol, low-fat eggnog

1/2 cup egg substitute

2 teaspoons sugar

1 can (13 ounces) evaporated skim milk

3/4 cup skim milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

rum flavoring (optional)

ground nutmeg

Whip egg substitute and sugar together and combine with the two types of milk and flavoring. Mix well. Chill overnight. Dust with nutmeg before serving. Yield: 3 cups. Calories: 96 per 1/2 cup. Cholesterol: 4 mg per 1/2 cup.

Q: I don’t have very good results baking homemade bread. What am I doing wrong?

A: Making homemade bread has many factors that can result in a poor product. First, use fresh yeast. If it is old to start with or if very hot liquids are used, the bread won’t rise because the yeast is dead. How much yeast is used can affect how dough rises.

A good rule of thumb is one package of yeast with 6-8 cups flour.

This proportion leavens the dough slowly. One package of yeast with 2-3 cups flour leavens dough fast. Many recipes are incorrect.

Here are some other problems and causes:

  • Low-protein flour causes low volume and dense texture.
  • Large bubble under the crust is due to no slash or vent to release gases, oven is too hot or bread placed near top of oven during baking.
  • A pale crust is due to low protein and sugar content. A dark crust is due to high protein and sugar content.

Q: Years ago I received a recipe for Dill Bread and loved it, but I can’t find the recipe. Do you know of a good one?

A: Here’s a Dilly Casserole Bread that is tasty. It goes great with soups on cold winter nights.

Dilly Casserole Bread

1 package dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)

1 cup creamed cottage cheese, heated to lukewarm (80-90 degrees)

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon instant minced onion

1 tablespoon butter

2 teaspoons dill seed

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 unbeaten egg

2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Soften yeast in water. Combine in mixing bowl: cottage cheese, sugar, onion, butter, dill seed, salt, soda, egg and softened yeast.

Add flour to form a stiff dough, beating well after each addition. Cover. Let rise in warm place (85-90 degrees) until light and doubled in size, 50 to 60 minutes.

Stir down dough. Turn into well-greased 8-inch round (1 1/2 or 2 quarts) casserole baking dish. Let rise in warm place until light, 30 to 40 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes until golden brown. Brush with soft butter and sprinkle with salt. Makes one round loaf.