Baking · Home Cooking

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.


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!

52Weeks · Baking · Simple and In Season

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.


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.

Home Cooking

Like a Bridge

Certain kitchen devices have always made me a little nervous, items such as: potato ricers, meat tenderizors, certain types of graters/mandolines and bread machines. Most of them are because I am a klutz, I am really good at hurting myself by doing stupid stuff…like not letting go of the cheese and trying to grate my knuckles instead. Bread Machines on the other hand, well I have this fear of forgetting about it and either waking up to a fiery inferno or coming home from work to a pit of ash. I understand that this is not a rational fear but then again I’m the girl that is terrified of going over bridges so rational fears aren’t really my thing. However I love bread and Joe loves bread and the delicious fresh bread at Wegmans just doesn’t fit in the budget so I bit the bullet a few months ago and got a bread machine. There have been a few mistakes, like not adding water…or yeast…but for the most part I’m rocking it out. This being me I then decided I needed to experiment with recipes and make something totally mine own. Since I had apples from the local farm, and some apple cider as well, I decided to mess around with those ingredients in an attempt to make an Apple Cider Bread. To add to things I also decided I needed to use the Killer Bee Honey I picked up at the MD Ren Fest the other week. I have now made this bread four times, and three of those attempts were edible! This is the final recipe and it was only tested in my Panasonic Bread Machine so I can’t be 100% sure how this will translate to other machines.

– 1 1/4 tsp yeast
– 3 cups 2tbsp all-purpose flour
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1/4 cup white sugar
– 2tbsp butter/margarine
– 1 1/4tbsp dry milk
– 1 1/2 tbsp honey
– 1 cup apple, finely diced
– 1/2 cup apple cider
– 1/2 cup water
In my machine this makes one medium loaf on the basic setting.  I tend to turn the crust setting to low, but that’s a personal preference so feel free to crank that up!