Category Archives: Breads

Coffee Cake Muffins

If you want a quick to “whip up” breakfast muffin or after-school snack this one fits the bill!  It tastes like a cinnamon coffee cake but takes a fraction of the time to make.  This muffin is light and airy and the cinnamon streusel begs to be both a filling and a topping.  And why not?  Put the streusel in the middle so there’s an extra surprise of cinnamon deliciousness.


This recipe makes 8 muffins.  Freeze any leftovers in a plastic Ziplock bag.  Place in a microwave to “re-fresh” for approx. 20 seconds.


In a bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients:
1-1/2 cups AP Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
In another bowl mix together the wet ingredients:
3/4 cup Whole Milk
1 Egg, whole
1/4 cup Melted Butter
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry.  Do not over-mix.  Place one spoonful into each of 8 paper liners.  Sprinkle with topping.  Divide the remaining streusel to top all the muffins.

Mix all ingredients together to form crumbs:
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1 Tabl. Flour
1/4 cup Butter, room temp.
1-1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

Bake in 350 degree oven 25 minutes or until tests done with toothpick.*  Enjoy warm!


* Toothpick test for doneness – insert toothpick int he center of a muffin and pull out.  Toothpick should be clean and not wet.


Corn Muffins

Whew! I’m not sure about you, but my end of summer was a bit hectic.  In the midst of the extreme heat of the last of August, along came Hurricane Irene. Like many of you, we were for-warned of the high winds and extreme amounts of rain.  Here in the northeast, after a very wet summer, that combination led to a LOT of downed trees and wires.

What does a normal person do, when a hurricane is predicted?  Knowing we were headed for downed lines and trees, I filled the bathtub with water (for flushing the toilet), prepped drinking water, set barrels underneath the eaves to collect rain water ( I had to make sure we had enough toilet flushing water 😉 , gathered flashlights, battery powered radio and batteries, purchased fruit and…baked!  Well, I had to bake – I mean, who goes for days without electricity and doesn’t need some kind of homemade goodness?!

I decided on these muffins since I convinced myself they were nutritious and hearty and would stave off hunger pains.   The recipe makes 12 muffins.

In a bowl, whisk together:
2 cups AP Flour
1 cup Cornmeal
1/2 cup Sugar
1 Tabl. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt
In another small bowl, combine:
4 Eggs
1-1/2 cups Milk
1 cup Butter, melted
Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, until smooth.  Place the batter by scoops into muffin tins.  Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until tests done and are lightly browned.  

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns are sweet and spicy yeast bread usually with raisins or currants, or sometimes both and are traditionally eaten on Good Friday.  There are several theories as to the origin of these rolls which include an Angelican monk who was said to have placed the sign of the cross on the buns, to honor Good Friday, and an English widow, who’s son went off to sea.  She vowed to bake her son a bun every Good Friday.  When her son didn’t return she continued to bake a hot cross bun for him each year and hung it in the bakery window in good faith that he would some day return to her.  The English people kept the tradition for her even after she passed away.   

Mix in small bowl and allow the yeast to proof for a couple of minutes:
1 Tabl. Dry, active Yeast
3/4 cup warm milk
2 Tsp. Sugar
Add to proofed yeast mixture:
1 Egg
4 Tabl. Butter, room temperature
Add to above and mix with dough hook for 3 minutes:
3-3-1/4 cups AP Flour
1/3 cup Sugar
4 Tbsp Butter, room temperature
1 tsp. Cardamom
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
1 tsp. Salt
1 cup currants and/or raisins (pre-soaked in hot water for 10 minutes and then drained)
2 teaspoons Lemon Zest
Empty the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead until for 5 minutes.  Add a bit more flour if necessary to keep it from sticking.  
Shape the dough into a ball and then place it in a greased bowl.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1 – 1-1/2 hours until doubled in size.  After the dough has doubled, punch down and divide equally into 18 pieces.  Roll each piece into a ball by rolling it under your palm.  
Place the balls of dough onto a greased or parchment lined baking sheet.  Cover the buns loosely with plastic wrap (I spray mine with oil).  Allow the dough to rise in warm, draft-free place approx. 1 hour. Brush each roll with the egg wash.  Bake in a Pre-heated 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Cool rolls before icing.
Egg Wash:
Mix together and brush on rolls prior to baking:
1 Egg, whole
1 Tabl. Water
Mix together and pipe in cross shape across cooled rolls:
1 tsp. Milk
3 – 4 Tbsp Powdered Sugar
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Irish Soda Bread

What’s St. Patrick’s Day without Irish Soda Bread.  This “bread” is really a type of biscuit which gets it’s leavening from the baking soda rather than yeast.  Traditionally, the loaf is cut in a cross form on top to indicate north, south, east and west.  I interned at a bakery years ago whose Irish Chef told me that after scoring the cross, you need to press your thumb in each quadrant to let the “spirits” out.  I’m not too sure about that but we did get a good laugh –  and I still do it!

Try  toasting for breakfast on the day after.  This recipe makes one loaf – you can easily double it.

In a bowl combine:
3 cups AP Flour
1 cup Cake Flour
2 Tabl. Sugar
1-1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1-1/2 tsp. Cream of Tartar
1-1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 cup Raisins (optional)
Mix in with fingers or fork:
2 Tabl. Butter, soft, cut into cubes
Stir into the above dry ingredients:
1-1/2 cups Buttermilk*

Mix the dough well.  Empty the bowl onto the counter and knead a bit to form a ball.  Flatten the ball on top to form more of a “disk” shape.  Transfer to a baking sheet.  With a sharp knife cut a cross in top.  With your thumb press a dip into each corner (optional).  Brush the loaf with milk.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 45-55 minutes until browned and tests done in center with toothpick.  Cool before slicing.

*Place 2 tsp. lemon juice in the measuring cup and add whole milk.

Low-fat Cornbread

Cornbread is the perfect option for breakfast or, as a side for soups and stews.  The “problem” with cornbread is that it is quite high in fat content.  In fact, my favorite recipe calls for butter and heavy cream (I know, shame on me!).  This recipe substitutes a great deal of the fat by using non-fat yogurt, egg whites and 2% milk.  We’ve used the ‘ol “keep some fat/flavor in” trick by keeping a small amount of butter and adding honey.  This recipe will make an 8″X8″ pan and if you don’t tell, no one will guess it’s reduced-fat!

In a large bowl combine:

1 cup AP Flour
3/4 cup Cornmeal
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt




In another bowl, whisk together:

1 cup Non-Fat Yogurt
1/4 cup Honey
1/4 cup 2% Milk
1 Egg and 2 Egg Whites, only
2 Tabl. Butter, melted

Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients.  Pour batter into a spray greased 8″X8″ pan.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.

French Bread

As our month of Bread postings draws to a close I give you a recipe for perfect French Bread.  You have to plan ahead for this bread, because it spends the whole day in rising and then after being punched down spends the night in the refrigerator.  If you like a nice soft French Bread,  its worth the wait!  This recipe makes one large loaf.  (the recipe is loosely based on KAF)

To prepare the BIGA, in a  mixer bowl, combine:
1 cup warm (NOT HOT) water
3/4  tsp. Dry, active Yeast
1-1/2 cups Bread Flour

Mix for 5 minutes using the dough hook attachment.  The dough will be stiff.   Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place for 4-6 hours.

To the above Biga add:
1 cup  Warm Water (NOT HOT)
3/4 tsp. Active Dry Yeast
1 Tabl. Sugar
3-1/4 – 3-1/2 cups Bread Flour
1 tsp. Salt

Mix using the dough hook attachment for 5 minutes.  Pull the dough out onto a floured counter and hand knead for a couple of minutes.  Place in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free place to rise for 6 hours.  After 6 hours, punch the dough down to release the gas and cover tightly and place in the refrigerator.

The next day: remove the bowl from the refrigerator and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place (my “place” is the oven – no heat).  Because the dough is cold this will take approx. 4 hours to double in size.  After the dough has doubled, place it on the counter, press down into a rough rectangle and tightly roll up jelly roll style to form a nice loaf, approx 13″ long.  Place the loaf diagonally on a baking sheet.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled.  Using a sharp knife, score the loaf diagonally 3 times.  Brush the loaf with cold water.  I sprinkled mine with sesame seeds.  Bake in pre-heated 375 degree.  For the first 10 minutes, occasionally throw an ice cube on the floor of the oven to cause steam (the ice won’t hurt the oven).  Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.

10 Grain Bread

Yesterday, NY got slammed with snow – again!  I wanted to take advantage of the day inside to make a multi-grain bread.  I did get out to the store in the afternoon to purchase Bob’s Red Mill Multi Grain cereal.  The problem with living in a small town in the country is you don’t get huge choices in brands and varieties.  As it turns out, my local store only carried Bob’s Red Mill 10 Grain Bread Mix.  I bought it thinking it was a flour blend.  After arriving home, I realized that what I had purchased was actually a 10 Grain Bread Mix.  At first, I thought I’d just use it as a flour mix and make my own recipe, but then…I thought, why not just make it and review Bob’s Red Mill 10 Grain Bread Mix. So today’s post is a review of a mix (I never saw that one coming).

I realize a product review isn’t the “norm” for this blog – since I make everything from scratch, but stay tuned, because this is a good review.  This bread mix couldn’t be easier and for a multi-grain bread that’s exceptional.  Multi-grain breads often require a biga, a soaking of grains, and when all is said and done, it can be quite time consuming.  In this case, the mix comes with a packet of yeast.  The directions on the back of the package are very simple:  Pour the mix and the yeast in the bowl, add water and oil and knead.  Of course, I had to proof the yeast in the water (force of habit).  Then I added the flour mix and the oil and using the dough hook on med. speed, let it “knead” for 8 minutes.  Next step was to allow the dough to proof in a warm, draft-free place for 2 hours.  I punched the dough down, pressed it out and rolled it tightly to form my loaf.  I placed the loaf in a well greased pan and allowed it to rest and rise again for another 1-1/2 hours.  I baked it for 25 minutes in a 375 degree oven.

This bread rises very well.  It turns out with a nice crust and a very tender crumb.  Here it comes – I couldn’t have made it better myself!  Perhaps it was meant to be for me to pick up the mix – I now can say homemade is not always better (again, something I didn’t think I’d hear myself saying).  Next time you are in the store, be sure to pick up Bob’s Red Mill 10 Grain Bread Mix to make for your family.

Italian Ciabatta Bread/Rolls

The name Ciabatta is Italian and refers to the shape of this loaf, which is thought to be shaped like a slipper and is kind of rough looking and dimpled (like your husbands old slipper).  Ciabatta gets it’s flavor and texture from the slow development of the yeast,  which comes from the biga.  The biga must rest overnight, so plan ahead!

This recipe comes from Williams Sonoma and makes 2 loaves or 18 large rolls.  I decided to make rolls with 1/2 of the dough as my family loves the rolls for sandwiches. These rolls/loaf freeze excellent and can be used for hamburgers, cold sandwiches – pretty much and sandwich.  The loaf makes an excellent garlic bread to serve with your favorite pasta.  Enjoy!

For the Biga, combine in mixer bowl with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed for a minute: (a Biga is like a Sponge, but stiffer)
1-1/3 cups water, at room temperature
1 cups Bread Flour
3/4 tsp. Active Dry Yeast

Add to the mixer bowl and mix for another minute:
1-1/3 cups Bread Flour

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until almost tripled in bulk, 4 to 6 hours. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours.

In the morning, take the starter out of the refrigerator and let stand, covered, at room temperature for 2 hours.

After the two hours, using the hook attachment, add to the bowl and mix for 1 minute to incorporate: (it will be very soupy)
3 Tabl. warm water (105° to 115°F)
3/4 cup warm milk (105° to 115°F)
2 tsp. Active, Dry Yeast

Add to the bowl and mix for 3 minutes:
1 cup Bread Flour
1-1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tabl. Olive Oil

Add and mix for 5 minutes:
1-1/3 cups Bread Flour

The dough should be very soft and sticky, pulling away from the sides of the bowl but sticking to the bottom. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place 2 hours or until doubled.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter.  Let the dough rest for 15 minutes.  Sprinkle the dough lightly with flour, and press it out using your fingertips into a rectangle – approx. 14″X5″.  Take one edge and fold into the center and then repeat with the other edge, so it looks like a letter, to make 3 layers. Turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat the folding. Divide the dough into 2 and place each half on the prepared baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.

After resting for 20 minutes, if you are making rolls, use a knife to cut the dough into rectangles (9 rolls from each 1/2 of the dough).  Place the rolls on a parchment lined sheet pan and press each rectangle down with your fingertips.  If you are making a loaf, use your fingertips to stretch and dimple the loaf into a rectangle approx. 10-12″ long and 6″ wide.

Again, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rest until tripled in bulk, about 1 1⁄2 hours. Press the dough lightly again to accentuate the dimpling during the rising.  Remember that the dough will remain relatively flat.

Place a baking stone on the lower rack of  the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees.  I used my cast-iron grill, sprinkled with cornmeal.  If you don’t have a stone or grill, the bread will bake well on parchment lined baking sheets which is how I baked my rolls.  Pick up and place the dough on the HOT stone/grill. Bake until the loaves/rolls are golden brown, approx. 20-25 minutes.

Soft Rye Bread

Last week, I tried to make Rye bread but it turned out looking like and feeling like a brick.  I was looking for a soft crumb, not dense and heavy.  Since this is made the straight method (adding all ingredients at once) it’s quick and simple.  You’ll notice this recipe uses All Purpose (AP) Flour instead of Bread Flour. That’s because Rye Flour has more protein than even Bread Flour has.  If we used Bread Flour or more Rye Flour than called for, the loaf would be tough and hard – like last weeks loaf   😉

This is the perfect, soft, sandwich Rye Bread.  This recipe will make 1 loaf of bread.

In mixer bowl, mix and allow to proof for 3 minutes:
1 cup Warm Water
2 Tabl. Molasses
2 tsp. Dry, Active Yeast
Add to the bowl:
2-1/4 cups AP Flour
1/2 cup Rye flour
2 Tabl. Olive Oil
1-1/2 tsp. Salt
2 Tabls. Caraway Seeds

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place for 2 hours.  After the 2 hours, gently release the gasses by pushing down (notice I didn’t use the typical “punch down”).  Press into a small rectangle and roll tightly up forming a “log”.  Place the loaf on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and again place in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, approx. 1-1/2 hours.


Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.  With a sharp knife, cut 3 cuts in the top of the bread.  Place in hot oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.  Cool completely before slicing.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

For many who enjoy the occasional pizza, whole wheat crust is a bit healthier alternative.  While it is healthier than traditional white crust, whole wheat pizza crust can be tough and chewy.  The good news is: you can make your own healthier crust at home quickly and  with little effort.  Even better, this crust won’t be tough or chewy.  This recipe makes 1-12″ pizza.

In a mixer bowl measure:
2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 Tabl. Dry, Active Yeast
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 Tabl. Sugar

1 cup Warm Water (just room temp – NOT HOT!)
2 Tabl. Olive Oil

Using a dough hook, mix for 2 minutes.  Place dough in a warm place to rise for 30 minutes.  Press the dough out using a rolling pin or finger to desired thickness on a baking sheet or stone.  Top with your favorite toppings.  (For a thicker crust, allow to rise again before topping.) Bake in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.

%d bloggers like this: