Posts Tagged ‘bread’

This past Sunday our Sunday Photo post focused on “Flour Power.” Well, flour has definitely taken on power, and new meaning for me in the past five years.

On my journey to rid our kitchen of processed and pre-packaged food, I have also taken some detours and now local food plays a very important part of this journey as well.  Granola Bars 1

Flour, also gives me freedom. The freedom and power to make things like bread and pizza dough. Crackers and muffins. Sour dough starter and white sauce. I know where my flour came from and I know what the ingredients are in the things I make. Not only do I know the ingredients, but making these things is also frugal. I know it costs a lot less then buying a loaf of bread at the market.bread dough

In Sunday’s post Alexandra talked about finding local flour in Wisconsin a few hours from where she lives. I finally found a source for wheat in Texas that is about 500 miles away. YIKES. Texas is fifth in the nation in wheat production, and it is hard to find wheat or flour locally. Hmmm. Fran talked about flour and its connection to communities.KPMF on toast with asaragusOn any given day, I usually eat something that I eat that has flour in it. Toast made from homemade bread to go with my morning eggs. Maybe a granola bar in the car on the go. Last week for dinner I made a mushrooms in a white sauce using flour, served if over toast and topped that off with steamed asparagus.

Flour is one of the staples that I would never want to be without in my cupboards because it plays an important part in our meals. I am grateful that I have the time to make these things at home.

What part does flour play in our kitchen and life?

Sincerely, Emily

You can see what else I am up to over at Sincerely, Emily. The topics are varied, as I jump around from gardening to sewing to making bread or lotion and many things in between.

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Lammas, hmmm. I didn’t know much about it until Alexandra suggested it for one of our Sunday Photos themes.

As I think about Lammas, I think about growing up in a small town in Wisconsin with all the farms nearby. I think about how important the harvests were and how, not that long ago, neighbors and families would get together to help each other with the harvests.

Look! ZucchiniI think back to how things were done just one hundred years ago, here in the U.S. and even centuries ago in Europe and other areas. Things where very different. People just didn’t drive into town to buy everything they needed; they were growing it. Whether it was wheat or corn, or something else, it was very important for survival. With these harvests came traditions, like Lammas

While many things are really getting crispy in the garden (ahhh dead!) I can still honor the things that I am harvesting right now, and give thanks to the grain in my cupboards that I use to make bread and other things. I can think about the harvest and Lammas, as I mix up a loaf of bread.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am also be thankful for the things I am harvesting and putting into our meals every day. Peppers, Kale, Okra. Cucumber. I can also preserve some things to grace our table another time. I will save seeds for another planting and look forward to another harvest. Traditions continue. Plans are made.

Are there any organized Lammas celebrations happening in your area?

Sincerely, Emily

You can see what else I am up to over at Sincerely, Emily. The topics are varied, as I jump around from gardening to sewing to making bread or lotion and many things in between.



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And the holiday season begins. It hardly seems fair that we just get done with all the awful political ads, and they start right in on all the awful holiday ads, but oh well. Here at NDiN, I think we’ll turn off the tv and spend the week cooking.


Here’s the turkey, which I (Xan) will actually be making for the December holidays rather than Thanksgiving this year. My sister-in-law will make Thanksgiving.

Turkey with apple-raisin stuffing
from Sphere magazine, circa 1975
1 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. butter
1 quart chopped apples (I use Granny Smiths)
1 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. golden raisins
1/4 c. fresh parsley
1 egg
1/4 c. apple cider
1 1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Saute onion in butter over medium heat until transparent (about 5 minutes); stir in apples and celery, simmer uncovered over medium heat sitrring occasionally (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat, lightly beat egg and stir in, stir in remaining ingredients. Stuff bird. Oops. Find a recipe/instructions for roasting a stuffed turkey. Do that. (Actually Alton Brown says make the stuffing separately, cook the bird unstuffed and spatchcocked- you heard me- and then stuff it on the sly when no ones looking, during the “resting” period after you take it out of the oven.)


Ahhh, where does that time go. I (Sincerely, Emily) am involved in a lot of things this year that are taking me away from home during the day and I find that I seem to be scrambling to get anything done right now. In terms of our Thanksgiving dinner, so far, the only two things I have thought about are the turkey and the stuffing. The local man I was getting a turkey from let me know that the turkeys did not put on weight, therefore, he has no turkey for me. I scrambled to find an organic turkey this past week. Yesterday I started making bread for my stuffing.

I use my normal no-knead bread recipe.  Then I add seasonings.

No-Knead Bread

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp yeast (original recipe is 1/8 tsp, but I never got much of a rise so I added more!)
  • salt
  • 1 1/2 cup water (adjusted for your flour

Before I add the water I add the following herbs and spices

  • 2 T dried oregano  or minced fresh oregano
  • 2 T dried minced onions (or fresh)
  • 2 T dried ground sage or minced fresh

Mix dry ingredients together then start adding your water a little at a time.  I tend to never add the full water, I prefer my dough on the dry side. I then cover my bowl with plastic and let it sit over night or all day or until I remember to get back to it. I then knead the dough (yes, I knead the no-knead dough!) just a bit to pull it all together.) I then place it in an oiled bowl and let it rise about an hour or until it has doubled in size. I pre-heat the oven and the crock pot insert to 500F. I bake the bread, covered, for 30 minutes at 500F, then 15 minutes at 450F uncovered.  (see my above link for photo of crockpot insert)  (you can use dutch oven.) I allow the bread to completely cook before cutting it into cubes to dry for stuffing. The bread has all the wonderful herbs and spices already in it, but I do tend to add more when I make the stuff.

Ok, now I am in the mood for the holidays… or at least the food part!



What are you making for Thanksgiving?

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Breakfast Bread


We had a couple of requests for bread recipes this past week so I thought I’d be obliging and share our Cinnamon Swirl bread. This is the bread that my daughter asks for almost every morning of the week. It’s fantastic toasted and supremely decadent served up as french toast. I’ve used both dried cranberries and raisins as a filler, but it would be fantastic with diced dates or prunes, dried apples, or any other dried fruit, and seed. I hope you enjoy!

rolled bread with honey

My recipe is based on this one published in Bread Baker’s Apprentice and shared by Smitten Kitchen. I’ve altered it to suit my family’s needs.

Makes one two-pound loaf

  • 2-1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
  • 1-1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp  honey
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1-1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 cups room temperature water
  • 2 Tbsp oil for bowl
  • 1/4 cup raisins or cranberries
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

I always add 1/2 cup unfed sourdough starter (the perfect way to use up “waste” when you’re feeding it). You can also substitute 1 Tbsp of whey for water.

  1. In a large bowl mix all of your dry ingredients.
  2. In your mixing bowl add honey, butter, yogurt, and one cup water. If you’re adding sourdough starter, now’s the time to add it. If you’re using a stand mixer jump to the next step. For hand mixing, make a well in your flour combination and start adding your liquids. When your dough forms a nice ball and no flour remains you’ve added enough liquid. Sprinkle a workspace with extra flour and work your dough for 8-10 minutes. The ball should be slightly tacky and springy. Skip the next step
  3. If you’re using a stand mixer you can begin adding about 1/3 of the dry mixture using your paddle. Once that’s very well incorporated switch over to your dough attachment. Continue adding flour until the dough begins to work up your hook. You’ve added enough dry mixture when the dough resembles a tornado and the sides of the bowl are clean. Allow the dough to mix on medium speed for about 5-6 more minutes.
  4. Oil a bowl (I like grape seed oil but have used olive oil as well) and roll dough in the bowl to cover with the oil. Cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap and allow it to rise for 1 to 1-1/2 hours or until doubled in size.
  5. Lightly sprinkle flour on workspace and gently roll out dough. Very carefully pull and shape the dough to form a rectangle about 8 inches by 12 inches. You don’t want to release any of the air trapped in the dough by handling the dough roughly. Drizzle your honey all over the top of the dough. Sprinkle with your dried fruit and finally the cinnamon.
  6. toppings

  7. Carefully roll up the rectangle of dough to form the swirls and set inside an oiled bread pan. Cover pan and allow to rise for another hour or until bread rises just past the top of the pan. During the last 20 minutes of rising, set your oven to 350 F.
  8. Bake bread for 30 minutes. Turn bread around for even baking and finish baking for another 10-15 minutes or when internal temperature reaches 205 F.
  9. When bread is done baking, turn out immediately on a cooling rack and try to be patient before you cut into it. Okay, okay, 10 minutes should be okay but a half hour is even better!

cinnamon swirl

Slice off a good hunk and top with some homemade butter and, if you have a real sweet tooth, a drizzle of honey and enjoy!!

You can find Jennifer over at Unearthing This Life where she blargs about her life with one Kid, one Hubby, two cats, and seven chickens. Yes, the boys are outnumbered.

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“Like all areas of cooking, bread making engages all of your senses, but it is a particularly soulful pursuit. The bouncy, silky feel of the soft, elastic dough, the hollow thump of a crusty brown loaf, the earthy flavor of slowly fermented wheat flour all contribute to the experience, but what’s most captivating is the blessed smell of the loaf of bread as it bakes in your own kitchen.”

Jerry Traunfeld The Herbfarm Cookbook


Here at Chiot’s Run baking bread is a weekly occurrence. The oven is on all the time, especially in winter, producing loaves of all shapes, sized, colors and flavors, many are tucked away in the freezer for summer eating to save time during that busy gardening season. In the summer the oven is on less often, usually on once or twice a month, producing enough bread to last for 2-3 weeks and a batch or two of scones, biscuits or zucchini bread for quick breakfasts and of course some hamburger buns for those summer cookouts.

It doesn’t get much better than the smell of freshly baking bread, scones, or biscuits in your own oven. We haven’t bought store bought bread or baked goods in many, many years.


Here at Unearthing This Life, cooking runs in our blood. Both Hubby and I spent time working in restaraunts on the prep side, grill side, and saute areas of the kitchen. We both took our respective turns behind the bar and out on the floor as well. Neither of us spent much time baking (even though I enjoyed a short stint in a bagel bakery). It took going through the Real Food Challenge for me to finally understand baking from scratch. So, it may be surprising for some of you to know that bread is relatively new to me.

rolled bread with honey

Now that I finally “get” bread making, I have to prepare it about twice a week. Since there’s three of us, and we’re homeschooling, we go through our loaves rather quickly. And one loaf of bread is always cinnamon cranberry swirl, with extra  honey. That is our breakfast bread. It makes fine french toast and an excellent dessert bread as well.

cinnamon swirl

Other than bread, a regular treat for us is pizza. Every Friday night is pizza night. Even if delivery did travel this far out in the Boonies, I don’t think I’d opt for that choice considering the taste of the pizza we prepare. I did grow up 25 miles outside of Chicago after all – and I know what pizza is supposed to taste like.

grilled pizza

Since Hubby was ordered on a low triglyceride diet almost three years ago, we severely limit our other sources of simple carbs. Carbs in our house serve a purpose – to introduce healthy grains, extra fiber, and fermented foods into our food source. Our dough always includes whole wheat flour, with whole grains added, and fermented with sourdough starter. Having too many family members with gut problems forces my recipes to consider their needs first and foremost. Using sourdough and organic flours seems to help reduce tummy issues. Hubby also weighs in on average 25 pounds less than normal now that we’re concious of the types of carbohydrates he consumes.


I think that goes to show that you can eat your carbs and have your health too, as long as you limit yourself and make sure you’re consuming quality grains.


What do you bake that fills your spirit or mends your body?

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I was supposed to post the winner yesterday, but Kim’s Righteous Rant stirred such a lively conversation that I didn’t want to interrupt it. So, without further ado, the winner is Stacy from the Little Blue Hen. Email me your address (my email is on the contact us page) and I’ll get the book in the mail to you. I hope you enjoy it. I’d love to hear about the breads you make. For the rest of you who wish you won the book, you can get it here (Artisan Bread in Five Minutes), or you can try your library. (I tried that, but had to wait weeks to get it and couldn’t keep it long enough.) I thought I could copy a few recipes and be fine, but the cost of copying almost the whole book was more than buying it. If you dream of great bread, but don’t have the time, this is a book you should own! (AND USE!!!)

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With all the cooking that has been going on around here there is one thing that is a constant in my kitchen. No matter what else I’m cooking,  I bake bread twice a week, rain, shine, or otherwise.  And although I experiment with different types of artisan breads my sandwich bread recipe has remained fairly constant for decades now.  It makes 6 loaves or in my case 3 loaves and two pans of raisin sticky buns!

Into my Bosch bread mixer (can also be done by hand which I did for years)

5 1/2 cups warm Water

2/3 Cups organic Canola Oil

3/4 Cup Honey

Mix slightly then add…

3 TBSP Yeast

Let the yeast proof for about 10 minutes (till it gets puffy and foamy)

While yeast is proofing mix...

2 TBSP Salt (slightly less if using sea salt)

1/2 Cup Vital Wheat Gluten

1 Cup of Flour (here is my flour mix recipe…you can also use 100% whole wheat but it will be slightly more crumbly)

Add this to the yeast mixture and mix.

Then add...

12 – 13 Cups Flour (knowing exactly how much comes with practice.  Some will depend on the exact amount of water you put in, the moisture content of the flour, the humidity of the kitchen…but this will get you close.)

Mix thoroughly then knead for 10 minutes.

When it is kneaded put it in a large bowl (or in my case a large pot with lid) cover and let rise until doubled.

Punch down and make into loaves, sticky buns, rolls or whatever you are craving at the time.

Let rise again until the bread is 1 1/2 to 2 inches above the rim of the loaf pan.

Bake in oven preheated to 350 degrees.  Here is where I’m a bit of a dork…I’m not sure how long to bake it.  I have never set a timer (although I will try to next time so I can report back) but I’m guessing about 25 minutes.  I can tell by the color and the sound when I thump it if it is done (it will sound hollow)…sorry for not being more precise.

Remove from oven, cool on wire rack.  I always put butter on the top crust when it is hot.

Eat and Enjoy!

If you want a step by step in-depth tutorial with pictures… go to bread baking part 1 and part 2 on my blog.

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