Sep 29, 2013

Basic Country Loaf with Spelt | #SecretRecipeClub

This Basic Country Loaf with spelt was a big hit in our house.

Basic Country Loaf with Spelt

In fact, Mr. Kitchen announced that it was his favorite bread so far. Ever. This from Mr. White Bread? Go spelt!

Basic Country Loaf with Spelt

About three years ago, when I first caught the bread baking bug, I picked up a copy of Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson at a Williams Sonoma outlet. I read it, adapted some of the methods, but never actually tried any of breads in the book. I'll admit that I was a little intimidated. The first recipe, including the starter, is 88 pages.

This is one of the reasons I am so happy to have been assigned Sally's blog, Bewitching Kitchen, for this month's Secret Recipe Club.  How did they know????? It was meant to be!

Basic Country Loaf with Spelt

Let's start with the reasons why:

  1. We both baked our way through Peter Reinhart's Bread Bakers Apprentice. That means we made every single recipe. 
  2. She wrote this really cool post about how to revive a sourdough starter. She mentioned "shed a tear" in the same sentence with sourdough starter. This is a girl after my own heart. 
  3. We both work at a university. 
  4. We both believe in "everything in moderation, including moderation."
  5. She broke the Basic Country loaf down to one page and made it with spelt flour. 
I'm in! 

Basic Country Loaf with Spelt

Sally is not just about bread either. She has an amazing array of recipes on her index. It's worth a visit.

Basic Country Loaf

Adapted from Bewitching Kitchen, adapted from Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson


50 g whole spelt flour
50 g white flour
100 g room temperature water
1 T active sourdough starter


375 g room temperature water, divided into 350 g plus 25 g
100 g starter
450 g all purpose flour
50 g whole spelt flour
10 g salt 


  1. The night before you plan to bake the bread, stir the starter ingredients in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it sit for 12 to 14 hours. 
  2. The next morning, in a large bowl or Cambro 8-Quart Food Containermix 350 g of the water and 100 g of starter until the starter has dissolved. 
  3. Add the flours, and mix with a large spoon or dough whisk until the flour and water are incorporated. 
  4. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and let sit for about 40 minutes.
  5. Add the salt and the rest of the water and mix with your hands by pinching the salt into the dough. Then fold the dough until it comes together and forms a cohesive mass. Cover and let it sit for 30 minutes. 
  6. For the next 2 hours, fold the dough by pulling the underside of the dough and folding it over the top from all four "sides" every thirty minutes for a total of four "stretch and fold" sessions. 
  7. Let the dough rise in a warm (80 degree) environment for another hour. If your kitchen is cooler, allow more time. The dough should be bubbly, but not necessarily doubled in size. 
  8. Remove the dough from the bucket/bowl, and lightly flour the top of the dough. Using dough scrapers, flip the dough over, and fold it over from all four "sides" to form a ball. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest for 20 minutes.
  9. Heavily dust a banneton or towel lined bowl (about 9 inches wide) with a 50/50 mixture of brown rice flour and wheat flour. 
  10. Fold the dough over itself from all four sides to create a ball, and lift it into the banneton with two dough scrapers or bench scrapers. Place it seam side up. Spray the top with spray oil, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. 
  11. Allow the dough to rise for 3 to 4 hours. My dough was ready at 2 1/2 hours. 
  12. About 45 minutes before you are ready to bake, place a cast iron Dutch oven in the oven and preheat it to 450 degrees F.
  13. When the dough is ready, remove the Dutch oven from your oven and remove the top. (Be careful, it is hot!)
  14. Place a piece of parchment paper over the dough, and place a plate on top of the parchment. Flip the dough over and lift off the banneton. Lift the dough with the parchment and place it into the Dutch oven. Score the dough, and cover. Place the Dutch oven back into the oven. 
  15. Bake covered for 20 minutes. Remove the cover and bake for another 25 minutes, until the dough reaches 210 degrees internally. 
  16. Cool on a wire rack. Or just break into it. 
Sharing with Yeastspotting

Sep 25, 2013

Spicy Long Beans with Sausage and Mushrooms | Wok Wednesdays

spicy long beans

Gathering the ingredients for these spicy long beans was a fun adventure. Some of the things I discovered by making this amazing dish:

  1. Chinese long beans are crunchy and delicious... and they are definitely long. They are also curly! Their taste is similar to green beans, but they seem to hold their crunch after cooking, and leftovers stay bright green. They came bundled with bands at the top and bottom of the beans and the bundles were the perfect weight for this recipe. 
  2. Chinese sausage may look like skinny salami, but it must be cooked before you eat it. The Asian market where I purchased it had rows and rows of various varieties, so you have to look at the ingredient list and make sure you are buying pork sausage. 
  3. Sichuan preserved vegetable... what? I spent a lot of time figuring out what this is both on the interwebs and in the store. It comes in cans or vacuum sealed refrigerated packets. The people I asked at the Asian market didn't seem to know what I wanted so I kept hunting. I finally found a 39 cent packet of something that seemed to come close... pickled mustard stem in a red chili paste. The packet was 2 ounces and the recipe called for 2 ounces so I went with it. 
  4. Buying dried shiitake mushrooms at an Asian market makes a huge difference in the amount of time it take for them to soften. If you need dried shiitake mushrooms, get them at an Asian market. Clearly they don't sit around as long. 
Spicy Long Beans with Sausage and Mushrooms

So why all of the drama? It's time for Wok Wednesdays. Twice a month, we make a different recipe from Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge by Grace Young. This week, we are making Spicy Long Beans with Sausage and Mushrooms. 

Spicy Long Beans with Sausage and Mushrooms

This is my new favorite vegetable recipe. Seriously. Delicious. 

Chinese long beans, ground pork, Chinese sausage, shiitake mushrooms, Sichuan preserved vegetables, scallions, cilantro, soy, a bit of sugar, and salt and pepper. These ingredients, when stir-fried together, are amazing. This is not hyperbole. 

Get Grace's book. Make these beans. You will love them. So far I have loved every recipe. 

You can also get the recipe and check out Grace Young, our Wok Wednesdays guardian angel and wok demystifier, demonstrating wok cooking >here<. 

Sep 24, 2013

Chocolate-Hazelnut Madeleines

Madeleines with cocoa, chocolate chips, Nutella, and Frangelico. Little chocolaty cakes with the wonderful flavor of hazelnuts. I had to bake these.

What are madeleines you ask (of course you did)? They are delicate little French cookies/cakes baked in a special pan that shapes the cookies like a sea shell.

Basic madeleines are made of eggs, flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, butter, and vanilla. This recipe also includes cocoa, Frangelico, Nutella, and chocolate chips. Nutella is a hazelnut spread flavored with cocoa, and Frangelico is a positively divine Italian hazelnut liqueur. Perfect nosh for a party.

Check out my first attempt at madeleines made with a genoise batter.

This is the first week of Twelve Weeks of Christmas Treats created by Brenda of Meal Planning Magic. Each week we post recipes for treats that would be perfect for a holiday party table. We also have a Pinterest board that you can follow to get great ideas for your holiday dessert table. (If you are a blogger and would like to bake along, here is a >link< with information about participating).

Equipment needed: Two 12-cavity madeleine pans.

Chocolate-Hazelnut Madeleines Recipe

Adapted from We Love Madeleines
Makes 24 cakelettes/cookies


3 room temperature eggs
1/2 C sugar
90 g all purpose flour plus extra for dusting the pan
1 T cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 C Nutella
1 T Frangelico
1/2 C melted and cooled butter, plus more for brushing the madeleine pan
1/4 C mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Powdered sugar for dusting


  1. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and sugar at medium speed. 
  2. Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt, and beat on low until just blended. 
  3. Beat in the Nutella, Frangelico, and butter until blended. Add the mini chocolate chips and stir. 
  4. Place the batter into a one gallon zipper bag and refrigerate for 3 to 24 hours.
  5. Place racks in the top third and middle of your oven and preheat it to 325 degrees F. 
  6. Butter and flour two 12 cavity madeleine pans.
  7. Cut one corner of the bag of batter and pipe the dough into the cavities of the pans. they should be about 2/3 full. 
  8. Bake for 16 to 20 minutes, one pan on the top rack, and one pan on the middle rack, rotating the pans halfway through. Pull them out when the batter is set and the edges begin to brown. 
  9. Cool in the pan on racks for 5 minutes. 
  10. Tap the pans over the racks to dislodge the madeleines and cool them on the racks until completely cooled. Dust them with powdered sugar. Store in an airtight container for up to three days. 
Check out the rest of the treats below:

I'm also participating in #chocolateparty:
Bring your favorite chocolate dessert to Roxana’s home baking #chocolateparty and win amazing prizes from OXOCalphalonKeurigImperial SugarHoney Ridge Farmsand Land O Lakes® Butter

Sep 22, 2013

Crunchy Seeded Crackers

Crunchy Seeded Crackers

These crispy and crunchy seeded crackers forced me to skip dinner the other night (not dessert though). Why? Because I kept eating them.

First, while they were in the oven to make sure they were crispy.

Second, while they were cooling to make sure they were crispy.

Third, once they were out of the oven, because I was already addicted and couldn't stop.
Crunchy Seeded Crackers

This is my second time attempting these crackers. I was fortunate enough to be a part of the King Arthur Flour test group that tried this recipe and provided feedback. They had provided the testers with the cracker recipe as well as some golden and regular flax seeds.

Crunchy Seeded Crackers

If I remember correctly, I had a really hard time getting them thin enough because the dough kept springing back. While I liked the golden flax seeds, I wasn't that thrilled with the crackers the first time I made them. While the seeds were tasty, the crackers were thick and tough. Now I wish I had saved the original recipe to compare because this time these crackers were simply amazing!

Sep 20, 2013

40% Whole Wheat Boules

40% Whole Wheat Boules

I am completely addicted to Ken Forkish's Flour Water Salt Yeast.  I'm not promising that I'm going to make every bread in the book (but I'm pretty sure I will, based on how much I've loved every bread so far).

This bread has an amazingly open texture for whole wheat. The flavor is perfect for sandwiches, toast, or fresh bread at the dinner table. I love it for whole wheat garlic cheese toast.

40% Whole Wheat Boules

You can play around with the grains as well as the whole wheat versus white flour in this bread to create a loaf that is your own - just remember that you will have to add more water to compensate for more whole grains. I'm looking forward to experimenting with spelt, kamut, and other ancient grains.

40% Whole Wheat Boules

This bread requires about a five hour bulk fermentation and then an overnight proofing in the refrigerator after shaping the loaves. If you want bread first thing in the morning, begin around 1:00 pm the day before. I started around 5:00 pm and made the loaves at noon the next day (I'm kind of a night person).

I am in love with the flavor and texture of this bread. It's miraculous. And so easy. Don't be afraid to make this. Making your own bread will change your life. Working with dough and getting to know when it's just right is a beautiful thing. Sharing it with your family and friends is uplifting.

Overnight 40% Whole Wheat Boules Recipe


600 g unbleached all purpose flour
400 g whole wheat flour
800 g/ 3 1/2 C 90 to 95 degree F filtered water
22 g fine sea salt
3/4 tsp instant yeast


  1. Mix the flours and water in a large tub or bowl (I used a 12 qt. Cambro tub) by hand or with large dough whisk until everything has been incorporated. Cover the container and let the mixture rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle the salt and yeast over the top of the dough and mix with your wet hands by folding the dough over itself a few times, and then pinching the dough to fully blend the ingredients. I keep a bowl of water nearby to re-wet my hands while mixing the dough. Repeat the folding and pinching until the salt and yeast is fully mixed in and distributed. This should only take about a minute or two. Cover the bowl/bucket and let it sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Do three "stretch-and-folds" over a 90 minute period, covering the bucket in between. 
  4. Allow the dough to rise until it has tripled in size. This should take about five hours.
  5. Gently scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough in half with a bench knife. 
  6. Prepare two brotforms, bannetons, or towel lined 9 inch bowls with a dusting of flour. I usually use a mixture of whole wheat and brown rice flour. 
  7. Gently form the two pieces into boules and place them seam side down into the brotforms. 
  8. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, about 12 to 14 hours. The loaves can be baked right out of the refrigerator. 
  9. About 45 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F with two empty covered Dutch ovens placed on the middle rack. 
  10. When you are ready to bake, cut parchment paper into two 9 inch by 15+ inch pieces. 
  11. Remove the Dutch ovens from the oven and remove the tops. One loaf at a time, place the parchment over the dough and place a plate over it. Flip the dough over, remove the basket, and lift and place the loaf in the Dutch oven by using the parchment as a sling (leave the paper under the dough). While usually you don't need to slash the top of this dough because it is seam side up, I did roughly slash this dough. 
  12. Cover the Dutch oven and place it in the hot oven. Repeat with the second loaf. 
  13. Bake covered for 30 minutes, and then remove the Dutch ovens from the hot oven, uncover, and place the loaves on a baking sheet. Be careful not to burn yourself! Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes more, until the interior of the bread reaches 205 to 210 degrees F and the bread is a deep brown. My loaves were ready sooner, so check early. 
  14. Cool completely on a wire rack. 
Sharing with Yeastspotting

Sep 18, 2013

Rose Margarita

Rose Margarita

About four years ago, a friend of mine passed me a ripped out page of the April 2009 issue of Bon Appetit magazine. Her goal? To get me to try the Rose Margarita. Someone had to make the sacrifice. I was up to the challenge. In fact, I had already bookmarked the same recipe. Big margarita fan here.

A reader had written in to the R.S.V.P. readers' favorite restaurant recipes section of the magazine to request the recipe for this margarita from Stack, a Las Vegas restaurant in The Mirage.

Rose Margarita

The reader had fallen in love with this margarita... and called it "the most interesting cocktail I've ever had."

This is a seriously delicious and interesting cocktail. I made a few changes, but the "addition of rose water gives this cocktail a fragrant exotic touch."

Rose Margarita

Adapted from the April 2009 issue of Bon Appetit. Makes one cocktail.


1 1/2 ounces silver tequila
1 ounce Grand Marnier
1 ounce lime juice
1 1/2 tsp limeade concentrate
1 tsp rose water


  1. Add all of the ingredients to an ice filled shaker. 
  2. Shake and pour the ingredients into a cold glass.
  3. Garnish with a lime wheel. Enjoy. 

Sep 17, 2013

Whole Wheat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Whole Wheat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

These whole wheat chocolate chip cookies are practically health food. 100% whole grain and bittersweet chocolate chips? Don't those contain whole grains and flavonoids? Totally health food, right? Perfect for back to school. The texture is soft and chewy, and the combined flavors of the whole wheat and dark brown sugar along with the bittersweet chocolate chips may put these on on your list as one of your favorite chocolate chip cookies.

I promise you, these cookies will be a huge hit. I baked about four dozen of them for work, and they flew out of the cookie jar.  I don't think I've seen anything I've shared at work get as much love as these cookies did. I saved a few for my little grandsons and they LOVED them.

Whole Wheat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I started mixing these cookies the evening before, I had just skimmed the recipe to make sure I had all of the ingredients (Don't you love it when you do have all of the ingredients and you don't have to go to the store? I do). I preheated the oven, melted the butter, mixed in the brown sugar, added the eggs, dry ingredients, and the chips, and then read "refrigerate overnight."

Okay.... Breathe.... Turn of the oven, reset the alarm and go to bed. When will I finally learn to read a recipe all of the way through?

The next morning I had to bake four sheets of cookies carrying the kitchen timer around with me as I got ready for work. You can pretty much guess what I had for breakfast. I had no choice!! =)

*All claims about these being health food are for entertainment purposes only and to make you smile I hope.

Whole Wheat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies


6 oz butter
7 1/2 ounces (1 C) dark brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp espresso flour (optional, I used it)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/3 C Lyle's Golden Syrup (you can also use light corn syrup)
1 T apple cider vinegar
2 large eggs
9 ounces (2 C) whole wheat flour
20 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips


  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Remove the pan from the heat, add the sugar, and stir until the sugar is melted. 
  2. Pour the butter/sugar mixture into a medium bowl and allow it to cool to lukewarm. 
  3. Add the vanilla, baking soda, espresso, baking powder, syrup, and vinegar. 
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating the mixture well each time. 
  5. Add the flour and mix thoroughly.
  6. Stir in the chocolate chips. 
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 
  8. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  9. Line baking sheets with parchment and drop the dough by tablespoon onto the sheets, about 2 to 3 inches apart. I use a small scoop to create (somewhat) even sizes. 
  10. Bake, two sheets at a time, for 12 to 13 minutes, rotating the sheets half way through, until they are just beginning to brown. 
  11. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets. Loosen the cookies from the parchment after about 5 minutes. 

I am participating in the Creative Cookie Exchange.

Sep 14, 2013

Fried Rice with Crab and Peas

Fried Rice with Crab and Peas

This fried rice with crab and peas takes only 20 minutes to make, especially if you have some leftover steamed or Chinese takeout white rice. It makes a great lunch or dinner with a salad. The rest of the ingredients are easy to find, and the dish is a lot of fun to make.

I used a wok to make this dish, but a large skillet would work too. What's so nice about the wok is that it develops a nonstick finish when you use it over time, but you can still use it with very high heat, unlike most nonstick pans.

I'm participating in the Eating the Alphabet Healthy Recipe Challenge hosted by Brenda of Meal Planning Magic. This month, we can choose fruits, vegetables, grains, or legumes that start with the letters P, Q, or R. Participating has definitely helped me discover new dishes I may not have otherwise tried.

Fried Rice with Crab and Peas


1/4 C soy sauce
1 1/2 T rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp white pepper
2 T peanut or vegetable oil
1 T minced ginger
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 green onions, thinly sliced
4 C steamed white rice
2 eggs, beaten
8 ounces of crab meat
1 C frozen peas


  1. Mix the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, and white pepper in a small bowl. 
  2. Heat a wok on high heat until hot and add the oil.
  3. Add the ginger and garlic and stir for about 5 to 10 seconds and then quickly add the rice and stir fry for about 5 minutes.
  4. Make a well in the center of the rice to expose the bottom of the pan, and add the eggs and quickly stir fry until cooked through.
  5. Add the crabmeat, peas, and sauce and stir fry for about 3 more minutes. 

Check out other recipes using ingredients beginning with P, Q, or R in the thumbnails below. 

Sep 10, 2013

Stir-Fried Chicken with Pineapple and Peppers | Wok Wednesdays

Stir-Fried Chicken with Pineapple and Peppers

This stir-fried chicken with pineapple and peppers was so easy to make and so fabulously flavored. It's mildly sweet from the pineapple, but also savory-sweet from the soy sauce, caramelized chicken, and red peppers.

The only ingredient that may be somewhat difficult to find is dark soy sauce. Fortunately, I already had a bottle in my refrigerator from another stir frying adventure. Because you only need a teaspoon of it you should still make this stir fry even if you can't find the dark soy sauce. Everything else in this dish is readily available (however, hunting down the dark soy sauce in Asian markets is a lot of fun and worth the effort).

Stir-Fried Chicken with Pineapple and Peppers

This stir fry is also perfect for the beginning wokker because is requires only a few steps, and, boom, you have dinner. Most of the ingredients... cornstarch, egg yolk, sugar, and soy sauces... are part of the chicken marinade. The only other ingredients are pineapple, red bell peppers, and scallions.

Stir-Fried Chicken with Pineapple and Peppers

Big thrill? The red peppers in this dish were grown in a big flowerpot in our back patio. Score! We had this with rice made by Mr. Kitchen, who has become the rice cooker expert in our household.

This recipe is from Grace Young's Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge, an amazing collection of recipes and stories, and a James Beard Foundation award winning cookbook.

Check out the Wok Wednesday's site for others' takes on this recipe. If you'd like to wok along, click on the recipe schedule to see what we will be stir frying next.

Visit Grace's site to get the recipe for this dish. And then get the book. It is fabulous.

Sep 9, 2013

Overnight White Bread

Overnight White Bread

At first glance, this Overnight White Bread bears a resemblance to the typical no knead bread... except it is anything but. For example, baking this bread involves some "stretch and folds" that help this bread develop structure and a thick crunchy crust. It's a revelation. You can feel the dough develop that tension that helps the dough hold together and bake into such a tall and lovely loaf. I also think there is some magic involved.

Overnight White Bread

Check out this "crumb." Isn't it gorgeous? The flavor is amazing. I think my only disappointment was that I did not achieve that Forkish break apart irregular gash on top of the bread like I did with the Pure Levain Country Blonde

To make this bread, you mix the dough after dinner, and then bake the bread the next morning. You need to stay awake for about two or three hours for the "stretch and fold" action, but after that, the dough develops at room temperature as you sleep. 

The next day you shape the loaves and let them rise in your bannetons or towel lined bowls while your oven and Dutch ovens preheat. I like to make two loaves and freeze one of them for the middle of the week. 

Note: these loaves are proofed seam side down, and then baked with the seam side up. Rather than scoring the dough, you let it open up naturally. If you want to score the loaf, just proof seam side up. 

On another note, the instructions also call for moving the bread to a sheet pan mid bake. I do this to prevent burning on the bottom of the loaf. If yours doesn't burn, then just leave it in the Dutch oven to finish baking. 

This last week we went on vacation with good friends to Cambria, CA, and I brought along a couple of these loaves. They were perfect every morning with breakfast, and we even barbecued slices for hamburger buns one night for dinner. They were perfect. 

This is my fourth Ken Forkish bread from Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast.  You need to get this book for the fabulous illustrations on how to do each of the techniques for these breads. 

Tools I used to make this bread:
  1. 12 quart Cambro bucket (a large bowl would work)
  2. Kitchen scale
  3. Two 9 inch bannetons 
  4. Two Lodge combo cooker Dutch ovens
  5. Plastic dough scraper
  6. Metal bench scraper
  7. Bowl of water
  8. My hands (take your rings off unless you want them caked with sticky dough)
P.S. How do you know when your loaves are ready to bake? Here is Ken Forkish, the author, demonstrating the "finger dent test."

P.P.S. This recipe can be easily halved to make just one loaf. 

bread, artisan, bake
Bread, Artisan Bread
Yield: 2 large loaves

Overnight White Bread


  • 1000 grams unbleached all purpose flour
  • 780 grams water, 90 to 95 degrees F 
  • 22 grams salt (not iodized)
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast such as SAF Red or Red Star Platinum


  1. With your hand, mix the flour and the water in the Cambro bucket or a very large bowl. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes. 
  2. Sprinkle the salt and the yeast over the dough, and, with a wet hand, fold the "sides" of the dough over the salt and yeast, and then pinch the dough a few times to incorporate. Stretch and fold the dough from all four sides, and then pinch the dough a few more times. Finish with a final set of stretch-and-folds. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes. 
  3. Do three more stretch-and-folds, every 30 minutes, covering the dough each time. After the final time, cover the dough and let it rest at room temperature overnight. The dough should have nearly tripled in size and be quite bubbly on top. 
  4. Generously flour two proofing baskets or towel lined bowls with flour. I use a 50/50 mixture of wheat and rice flour to prevent sticking. 
  5. With a wet hand or a wet dough scraper, gently scrape the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough in half with a bench scraper. Gently shape each dough piece into a ball, and let it rest on the work surface, seam side down for 10 to 15 minutes. 
  6. After the bench rest, using your bench knife and hands, tighten up the shape of the dough ball by gently sliding the ball along the counter from all sides to create a taut skin. Place the dough, seam side down (see note above) in the baskets/towel lined bowls, and cover with oiled plastic wrap. 
  7. Let rise for 60 to 80 minutes, until it slowly springs back when poked with your finger, but not all of the way. 
  8. Remove the Dutch ovens from the oven and remove the tops. One loaf at a time, place a piece of parchment over the dough, and invert a dinner plate over the parchment. Flip the dough over, remove the basket/bowl, and place the dough in the Dutch oven using the parchment paper as a sling (leave the paper under the dough). Cover the loaf with the top of the Dutch oven, and place it in the oven. Repeat with the second loaf. 
  9. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove the Dutch ovens from the hot oven and place the loaves onto a sheet pan and return them to the oven, being careful not to burn yourself. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes more, until a deep golden brown, and the internal temperature reaches 210 degrees F. Cool completely (at least an hour) on a wire rack. 

Sharing with Yeastspotting

Sep 6, 2013

Honey Maple Garlic Baby Back Ribs

Honey Maple Garlic Baby Back Ribs

I made these honey maple garlic baby back ribs for my son's birthday. He loves ribs. His two boys love ribs, How could I go wrong? (And I love, love, love all of these boys and get so much pleasure out of feeding them with food that they love).

Honey Maple Garlic Baby Back Ribs

I've always been intimidated by making ribs, but I'm not sure why. I guess because I thought a barbecue would be involved. I'm pretty sure I could figure out a barbecue... pretty sure....

Honey Maple Garlic Baby Back Ribs

But this recipe is so much easier. Marinate the ribs.... bake them in the oven.... and then toss them in a glaze. All I know is that everyone loved them. (Can you keep a secret? I had leftovers for breakfast.)

Honey Maple Garlic Baby Back Ribs

So here's the deal about these ribs. They are not overly "barbecue-y" flavored. They are really meaty and inherently sweet.. but not too much. Just make them. You will love them. And so will the men in your life.

Honey Maple Garlic Baby Back Ribs

Honey Maple Garlic Baby Back Ribs


3 racks of baby back ribs, about 9 pounds total, membrane removed, and each cut into thirds
1 1/2 C honey
1/2 C maple syrup
1/3 C soy sauce
1/2 C Dijon mustard
1/2 C apple cider vinegar
6 scallions, white part minced, and green part sliced
8 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Whisk the honey, maple syrup, soy sauce, Dijon, vinegar, minced white scallions, garlic, cayenne, and salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  2. Divide the ribs among three one gallon plastic bags. 
  3. Add the marinade to each bag and seal. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours. 
  4. Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 325 degrees F.
  5. Line a baking sheet with heavy duty foil and place a wire rack on top of the sheet. Spray it with spray oil. 
  6. Place the marinated rib racks on top of the wire rack. 
  7. Place the baking sheet onto the oven rack, and add 2 cups of warm water to the baking sheet. 
  8. Tent the baking sheet with foil.
  9. Pour the rest of the marinade into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate.
  10. Bake for about 75 minutes.
  11. Remove the foil and continue to bake for another hour.
  12. Meanwhile, bring the rest of the marinade to boil in a large (6-8 quart) Dutch oven and allow it to boil down to a glaze. This should take 5 to 10 minutes. Brush the ribs with some of the glaze and continue to bake for another 15 to 30 minutes. 
  13. Transfer the ribs to a cutting board and tent with foil. Allow them to rest for about 10 minutes. 
  14. Cut the ribs into individual pieces and toss them with the rest of the glaze in the Dutch oven. 
  15. Transfer them to a plate and sprinkle with scallions. 

Inspired by the Feb/Mar issue of Cook's Country magazine. 

Sep 3, 2013

Ausytes | Lithuanian Onion and Bacon Buns

Ausytes | Lithuanian Onion and Bacon Buns

Ausytes are considered a special treat during Christmas in Lithuanian homes. they are small, about three bites, with a center of an onion bacon mixture. They are passed around as an appetizer accompanied with the salutation, "Linksmu Kaledu," which means Merry Christmas! I found this recipe in Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads, and the author credits the recipe to a home baker whose family is from the steel mills in northern Indiana.

Ausytes | Lithuanian Onion and Bacon Buns

I'm not sure what drew me to this bread. The cookbook does not have photos, a requirement if you are going to write a cookbook these days. What it does have is incredible instructions, flawless recipes, and great stories about the individual breads. Just think, for about $20, you get 650 pages of bread recipes.

Ausytes | Lithuanian Onion and Bacon Buns

I'm particularly attracted to regional and ethnic breads, and I was also looking for a bread recipe that calls for onions for our Twelve Loaves assignment, Farmers Market. I had chosen onion, so I checked out the indices of some of my bread books. This one grabbed me immediately.

I love these rolls! They start with a brioche style dough wrapped around a small center of onions and bacon..

The bacon and onions are boiled until all of the water is boiled off, and then ultimately fried in the bacon fat. The resulting filling is then processed until it is finely chopped and then wrapped with this brioche dough. The good news? The recipe is super easy. The better news? The results are so delicious. I can understand why these rolls are reserved for celebrations.

Ausytes | Lithuanian Onion and Bacon Buns Recipe

Makes about 3 dozen rolls


1 pound bacon, finely sliced
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
1 C milk
1 stick unsalted butter
2 eggs, lightly mixed
18 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more if necessary
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp salt
1/4 C sugar 
1 egg beaten with T of water


  1. Put the bacon and onion in a four quart heavy skillet, cover with just enough water to barely cover the mixture, and bring to a boil. Boil for about an hour, until the water has boiled off and the mixture has reached a golden or darker brown. 
  2. Pour the ingredients into a strainer over a bowl and strain out the fat to discard. Cool the mixture. When the onion and bacon mixture has cooled, run it through a food processor to finely grind. 
  3. Heat the milk and butter (cut into pieces) until the butter has melted. Don't bring it to a boil or scald, cool to room temperature. 
  4. Add the eggs to the milk/butter mixture and whisk. 
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add all of the dry ingredients and whisk. 
  6. Add the liquid and mix with the dough hook. Add more flour if necessary by tablespoon until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and forms a ball on the dough hook. Knead for 15 minutes. 
  7. Place the dough into a bowl or dough rising bucket, cover, and let it rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until doubled. 
  8. Push the dough down, and let it rise for another 30 minutes, covered in plastic wrap.
  9. Roll the dough out into a 1/2 inch slab and cut the dough into 2 1/4 inch circles. Set the circles aside, and re-roll any leftovers and cut more circles. 
  10. Press the already cut circles into slightly larger pieces, and add a tsp of the onion/bacon mixture. Wrap the dough around the mixture and place the ball, seam side down, onto a parchment lined baking sheet. 
  11. Continue to shape dough balls around the bacon/onion mixture, until done. 
  12. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and allow the dough balls to rise for about an hour. 
  13. Brush with the egg/water mixture. Place in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. 
Linksmu Kalledu!

Sep 2, 2013

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread: Avid Baker's Challenge

This double chocolate zucchini bread contains both cocoa powder and half of a pound of chocolate chunks.... and two medium zucchinis.
Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread: Avid Baker's Challenge

Yes, it's zucchini season, that time of year when everyone has an overabundance. This is a great way to use some of that zucchini. In fact, my cousin, who grows amazing vegetables and fruits in her cantilevered yard in the hills of eastern Los Angeles county, gave me a good sized zucchini this year (along with some fabulous figs and heirloom tomatoes). If you look very closely, you can see evidence of the zucchini, but don't tell the kids.
Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread: Avid Baker's Challenge

I made this bread as a "cake" for a birthday dinner for my son. He's not a big fan of cake, so I thought a slice of this bread with a dollop of whipped cream might be just enough. We could stick a candle in it and call it a cake. What I did not anticipate was how much his sons would love it. Seriously loved it. Especially with the whipped cream. Just watching the oldest (age 9) enjoy his dessert was such a joy to me. He was in heaven, which is so much fun for me.

This bread reminded me of a large brownie. It is so moist from the zucchini, and will keep, wrapped, for a few days.