Tag Archives: bread

Chasing Relentlessly

Sourdough Bread


I missed Random Recipes last month thanks to a total spaz on my part so I made sure to get to work on my recipe this month as soon as I got back.  This month the theme is “bread” and as I only have one bread book I knew that was the one I was working with.  As for the recipe it was randomly selected my a friend who was coming for dinner, who requested sourdough.  Once I was narrowed down to the sourdough section I had my hubby pick the page number which led me to the basic Sourdough Bread.   This is a bread I have made many (MANY!) times because it is simply amazing.  I’ve had my sourdough starter going for a few months now so every loaf is getting better and better.    Gunther, as my sourdough is loving called, might not be the fanciest starter on the block but he’s the first I’ve had survive past the few month so he’s a winner in my book.   One day I might attempt to make a loaf fully by hand but until then I’m a HUGE fan of my bread machine and use it at least once a week.

Chasing Relentlessly


3 cups flour

1 tbsp salt

2 tbsp white sugar

1 cup starter

2/3 cup 2% milk

2 tbsp margarine

1 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast


  1. Place all ingredients in bread machine per instructions, for mine it's dry first then wet with yeast in a special compartment.
  2. This makes a medium sized loaf (1 1/2 lbs) and for best results use the timer, adding at least 3 hours.
  3. Once finished allow to set for 20 minutes before cutting in order to prevent the bread from collapsing. Enjoy!!

This bread can easily be enhanced by adding various herbs and spices to the dry ingredients – my favorite is 1 tbsp of dry oregano but a combination of thyme, rosemary, and basil also gives amazing results.  As for serving the bread I’ve used it for everything, it makes an outstanding sandwich bread and if it lasts long enough it also makes a delicious french toast.  For more bread recipes be sure to check out Belleau Kitchen and the rest of May’s Random Recipe entries.

No Delay

Baguettes and Crostinis


I’ll be honest, I put this 52weeks challenge off until the last possible moment because I knew what I wanted to post, and I knew when I was going to be able to do it.  This week the theme is appetizers and since I was planning to host a Downton Abbey Viewing Party I knew I would be making some type of finger food.  I debated a number of recipes, trying to find something that either the Upstairs or Downstairs folks of the early 1920s would have enjoyed at a gathering.  In the end I decided to make some French Baguettes and transform them in to crostinis for a variety of toppings.  Crostinis have been around for a few hundred years, and were one way to use up stale bread.  The toppings on the other hand vary depending on location and time period, ranging from the ever popular bruschetta to squash puree to watercress egg salad and everything in between.  I decided to keep it simple with a classic roasted tomato bruschetta and an eggplant dip.


Serves: yields 2 14 inch baquettes


4 cups flour

2 tbsp yeast

2 tbsp salt

1 1/2 cups warm water


  1. Mix the flour, yeast, and salt together in a large bowl. Form a well in the middle and add the water.
  2. Slowly mix the water in to the flour mixture until dough is elastic, about 12 minutes. Place in a pre-oiled bowl and turn once to fully coat then cover the bowl in syran wrap and allow to rise in a warm location for 2 hours.
  3. Punch down the dough and divide in to two section. Form the baguettes by pressing in to rectangles and then folding the dough over while pulling out (see video below).
  4. Place the baquettes on a lightly greased sheet and allow to rise for 30 minutes, then score the bread and allow to rise for a final 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 and place a cake sheet on the bottom rack. Once oven has preheated pour 3 cups of water in to the cake sheet and place the baguettes on the center rack.
  6. Cook for 15 minutes, then lower heat to 350 and cook for a final 45 minutes.


Serves: makes 36 crostini pieces


2 Baguettes, cut in to 1/2 in thick pieces

2 tbsp pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

3 cloves garlic


  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Brush the olive oil on to one side of the baguette pieces and lightly cover with the pepper
  3. Bake for 5 minutes, then rotate pan and bake for an additional 5 minutes
  4. While hot brush the top with the garlic cloves
  5. Serve hot or at room temperature

While doing my recipe search I also found a few classic soup recipes that called for crostinis, so I have a feeling I know where the leftovers will be going.   I also want to do more research about the Downton Abbey time period to find out more about what food they enjoyed then, see if I can combine my love of food with my love of history.  I’m not sure where that will go, but will most certainly be posted here!

Just a Little

Pumpkin Spice Bread

For the most part I keep to my recipe book when it comes to making bread, changing up recipes only after careful thought and research to make sure I’m not going to burn down the house or poison my spouse.  There have been some great results, Apple Cider Bread and Cream Cheese Bread for example.  However there have also been some failures, and while none of them were of the charred variety they weren’t edible regardless of what my husband told me.   When I saw how much roasted pumpkin I had after making my pumpkin pasta I froze the extra so that I could do something with it once I figured out what that something was.  After a bit of thought I decided to attempt a pumpkin spice bread.  I used my recipe for zucchini bread and molded it with an older recipe for applesauce bread.  The idea was the that the zucchini portion would give me the right idea for spices while the applesauce bread would take in to account the moisture content of the roasted pumpkin mush.  For the settings on the bread machine I went with the standard options – bake regular, medium size, and normal crust.

Pumpkin Spice Bread

Serves: Makes one loaf


3 cups flour

1/2 tbsp curry powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tbsp white sugar

1 cup roasted pumpkin mush

1/2 cup milk

2 tbsp butter

1 1/2 tsp yeast


  1. Add ingredients to bread machine per instructions - for my Panasonic it's dry then wet then yeast in the yeast box.

This bread was perfection!  Toasted and with the addition of some butter and cinnamon sugar it was the perfect breakfast.  It also made some great French Toast!

I See Stars

Zucchini Oat Bread


I had a surprise in my garden yesterday: a zucchini.  I had basically counted them out since I hadn’t seen any sign of life on either plants all season.  Needless to say I was rather shocked when going to gather some tomatoes I nearly stepped on a gorgeous fully grown zucchini.  My original bread plan involved peaches, since bread is the theme for this week’s 52week challenge.  After finding the zucchini I knew that I had to make zucchini bread and that it had to be amazing.  For a few moments I debated chocolate zucchini bread, but decided to go for the health factor and modify a recipe in one of my favorite bread machine books.  The Bread Machine Cookbook does have a recipe for zucchini bread, but past experiences with it weren’t very good.  This time I decided to adjust the Carrot Bread recipe and made frequent checks to see if it needed more liquid in order to avoid the dryness of the last zucchini bread.   In the end I wound up adding a little bit more oil and zucchini, which resulted in a very moist and flavorful bread.

Zucchini Oat Bread


1 cup water

2 tbsp EVOO

3/4 cup grated Zucchini (pressed)

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 1/3 tsp salt

1 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats

2 2/3 cup bread flour

1/4 cup dry milk

2 1/2 tsp yeast


  1. Add the ingredients to the bread machine based on manufacturer's instructions. This makes one "large" loaf in my Panasonic using the standard cook time.

As you can tell from the picture we ate our with Nutella, but honey or just butter alone is always an option.  Since finding out Joe is not allergic to hazelnuts, Nutella has  been a regular addition to our breads.

I am also submitting this to August’s Simple and in Season link-up hosted by the always fabulous Ren of Fabulous Foods.   Make sure to head over there for some more great ideas for preparing seasonal recipes!

In Days



Happy New Year!  2011 is now officially here and time for new adventures, new recipes, and some new resolutions.  Last year I resolved to go to the gym…and idea that worked well until I was transferred a good distance down the road.  I also resolved to try putting myself first a little bit more often, which has proven to be much harder than I ever thought possible.  So that resolution has come back, in a slightly different form.  This year I am going to relax more and spend more time with my family and friends….and also attempt to leave work at work.  I am also making a resolution to blog more, as part of my plan to relax more.  Cooking for me is a safety zone, a place where I can get away from everything and focus on creating new dishes and reworking old dishes.  Today’s dish is one from the old dish category, in fact this is a very old dish.  I don’t remember the first time I had challah, but I do remember making a very similar bread when I was younger around the holidays.  I remember my mom had to mess around with it every few hours, and I remember standing in kitchen while she braided it.  When it came time to braid my bread I tried to remember how she did, but for some reason the only thing that kept popping up in my mind were the multi  colored cherries she use to put on top of it.  While her breads might have been works of art suitable for passing out to the neighbors, mine is…well…edible.  I guess in the end that is all that really mater.   It should also be noted that I cheated on the first part of this bread and used my bread maker in order to form the dough.

– 1 cup water
– 2 eggs
– 2tbsp olive oil
– 2 tbsp sugar
– 1 tsp salt
– 3 cups flour
– 1 1/2 tsp yeast

1.  Add ingredients to bread machine based on instructions.  Set to dough mode.  For best results do not use the quick rise setting.
2. Divide dough into three sections.  Flour hands and then roll each section into a strand, then braid the strands together.  In order to make a circular braid bring the ends together and gently press to create a seal.  Place dough is a dry location and allow to rise for 45minutes.
3.  Preheat oven to 375
4. Bake bread for 40minutes, or until a light golden brown color.  

The amount of time needed to make this bread is well worth it because in the end you have a bread that is perfect for soaking up a nice warm soup or for making a sandwich.  If you wind up with some threatening to turn on you, Challah French Toast is the perfect quick fix breakfast/lunch/dinner.  There are also TONS of websites out there that will show you other techniques for braiding, and I have to so there are some very talented bakers out there.  I think I will stick to three strands for now, but maybe I should add making a 4 braid Challah to my list of things to do in 2011.