Archive for the ‘artisan bread’ Category

Every year I play with the idea of making Panettone for Christmas and every year slips by with a broken promise to myself.  If you are like me there’s one recipe, just one, that sits on the “gotta make” list, right at the top but never seems to make the move to “been there done that.”

Zoe over at Artisan Bread in 5 has posted a visually inspiring piece on baking panettone and I’ve got no excuse this year.  Thanks to Zoe, and her book, I believe I’ll finally be taking panettone off that “gotta make” list.

Be sure and visit her site and have a look at this great holiday bread and a whole basket of other great bread recipes you can make.  You really don’t want to miss it!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a warm, sweet panettone!


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Picture 2
Here in Southern California, after temperatures in excess of 105℉, things are beginning to cool off as Fall is right around the corner. That means it’s almost time to fire up that oven, roll up my sleeves and get to work on a no-knead bread recipe I had tried a few months ago.

If you have tasted homemade bread you know how wonderful that first warm slice all buttered and crispy/chewy is.  Right out of the oven, fresh baked artisan style bread is on the top of my comfort food list.  

This recipe calls for 12-18 hours of  fermenting of the yeast mixture and final proofing, and about 45 minutes to an hour in the oven.  Because timing is important you do need to do some planning to be sure you’ve started the process at a time that will work with your schedule.  

For instance, if I mix the ingredients at 6pm on Friday evening, then I’ll need to be in a position to do the next step between 6am and 10am Saturday morning.  Then I’ll have to wait another 2 hours or so of proofing time before I can put the final dough into the oven and be willing to wait another 45 minutes to an hour before its ready.  If you follow this schedule you’ll have great bread to go with that bowl of chili or soup or make panini at lunch.

It’s really easy and requires no previous experience.  Just some patience and a 6-8 qt. cast iron Dutch Oven.  

If you are looking to try making bread for the first time you don’t have to be afraid of this recipe.  It works out great every time.

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned.
Cool on a rack for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

I do hope you try this wonderful old world style bread.  It’s great with a hearty soup or just toasted hot with butter and jam.

For more great bread recipes check out Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

I use this kind of 6 qt or larger cast iron dutch oven.  You really don’t need to pay $200.oo+ for that fancy french one.

Leviticus 2:7
‘If your offering is a grain offering baked in a covered pan, it shall be made of fine flour with oil.”

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Parmesan Bread Puffs

Parmesan Bread Puffs

Years ago there was a pizza restaurant in our home town.  Their pizza was deep-dish and fabulous, and the menu had a great variety of items which included Romano Bread Puffs.  

I often reminisce of those bread puffs and today I had an epiphany… why not try to reproduce them at home?  So here’s some pics of my efforts.  Since I didn’t have any Romano Cheese nearby I opted for Parmesan.  My hope is to try them a couple more times and perfect them at which point I’ll post the recipe and maybe some play-by-play photos.  For today, they approached perfection and I enjoyed them completely.   Ahhhh, bliss!


6 Bread Puffs and weigh too many carbs

6 Bread Puffs and weigh too many carbs

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There’s a part of me that genuinely believes I was born in the wrong century.  When I was a child I loved to imagine myself in the old west something like Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family.  Living off the land and preparing all sorts of wonderful and useful home made concoctions.  Sounds so glamours but not very realistic.  

That part of me sneaks up every once in a while and I get the urge to bake or make a home remedy or some soap.  Usually these urges are unheeded but this week is an exception.

This morning I baked some yeasty no-knead whole wheat rolls which were perfect for our lunch sandwiches of roast beef and pepper-jack cheese.  While, over the past few days, I have been drying and packaging peppermint leaves I grew in my garden for tea.  The aroma in my house on Monday was intoxicating and lasted for days as the oven and food dehydrator slowly did their magic and dried the leaves.  After some simple tasks I now have two large canisters filled with loose tea leaves for gifts and for my own pantry.  And I have plenty of peppermint in the garden to make some more next week and hope to stock up for the year.

This afternoon I’ve been trying something totally outside of my experiences.  I’ve created a simple still on my stove and have begun the process of distilling lavender water from which I hope to extract lavender oil.  

Once again the house smells like a perfumery and I’m so giddy at the thought of my first adventure in making my own frangrances for bath and body soaps and salts.  

Leave a comment… tell me what you like to make at home.

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Here’s a cook book that caught my attention… Why? you may ask.  Lately the no-knead method has become an obsession with me.  I’ve been combing the www for more info and recipes and ran across this book by Nancy Baggett.  The title is catchy and the recipes look awesome.  I am especially interested in the Buttermilk Bread and the Double Chocolate Honey Bread.  Yummy!

I’ll be waiting eagerly for the UPS Man to deliver it.

Warming the oven,…..

Find out more about the author, Nancy Baggett, and get some great recipes at KitchenLane.com.

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I told you I was gonna post the results of the “no-knead pizza dough” recipe and, well, Chef John, you were right!  This was the best pizza dough that ever came out of my oven.  I’m converted forever.  I’m never going back to kneaded dough, never… 

If you’re looking for a good pizza dough you really can’t pass this recipe up….. REALLY! It’s simple, refrigerates well, (I refrigerated half the dough for several days with great success) and has a professional, crusty ~ chewy texture and tastes great.

I did do a little altering to the recipe and used a tomato and basil infused olive oil instead of regular olive oil, also a success.

Once again, I’m convinced that no-knead dough is the way to go!  Next I’m getting me one of those pizza stones and see if it makes it even better.



John 6:50-51 
This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die.  I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” 

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So I get this RSS Feed the other day from one of my favorite food blogs.  Chef John is telling me I can use a no-knead recipe to make pizza dough.  I love no-knead doughs and the thought just kept going round and round in my head, “no-knead pizza dough”…. “no-knead pizza dough”….  over and over and over and I fell victim around 12 noon today.  That’s really bad timing if you want pizza for dinner since the dough needs 12 hours to proof.

But, I got busy and put the ingredients together any how.  Now I gotta wait till midnight to make pizza!   My plan is to make the pizzas (recipe make 4 9-10 inch pizzas) let them cool and put one in my hunny’s lunch box for tomorrow.  

Good plan if all works out.  

Check out Chef Johns site and his No-Knead Pizza Dough video.  I’ll let you know how things turned out.  And post some pics.

BTW… Thanks Chef John for all your inspiration!!!


Luke 6:26
Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.

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