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Once Upon a time: Cooking … Baking … Traveling … Laughing …


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BBB – Beaujolais Bread

The books pictured here are what I call my nomad bread baking library.

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I could list all the recipes for bread I looked at in a number of these books. I could list several reasons that I shouldn’t have picked the bread I did. But I won’t. Instead I’m going to give you the reason I picked the recipe for Beaujolais Bread from A Passion for Bread.

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Perhaps the picture says it all and you can figure out your own reason why this is a Babe’s Bread.  Now the book’s picture is much more impressive but still this bread certainly called my name.
The book, A Passion for Bread, written by Lionel Vatinet, is amazing. I would encourage you if you can get your hands on a copy to read the introduction. I particularly liked his description of how he came to be passionate about baking bread and the apprenticeship way of learning.

Beaujolais Bread

454 grams white bread flour, unbleached, unbromated, 16 oz; 3.5 cups(I used half bread flour + half spelt and 9 grain blend from King Arthur)

35 grams ground flax seed
7 grams fine sea salt, .24 oz; 1 1/8 teaspoons
5 grams instant dry yeast, .18 oz; 1.5 teaspoons
21  grams honey, .75 oz; 1 tablespoon
320 grams Beaujolais wine, 11.2 oz; 1 1/4 + 2 tablespoons
113 grams salami cut into 1/4 inch cube; room temp, 4 oz; 1 cup for the 1st baking
for the 2nd baking I used 4 slices bacon and wished for another 4 slices
1 teaspoon rosemary, chopped finely

Directions:

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1. Scale all dry ingredients in a large bowl.

2. Add the honey to the dry ingredients and using your hands bring loosely together then form a well in the center.
(Confession: I mixed the honey and the wine together … )
3. The wine should be between 82° F and 84°.

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(Confession: I had no thermometer.)
4. Add the wine to the well in a slow steady stream as you rotate the bowl with one hand while simultaneously mixing the wine into the dry ingredients with your other hand.
Frequently scrape your fingers and the bowl to gather all ingredients into the dough ball. The bowl should be quite clean.
The dough will be soft, slightly wet and extremely sticky.
The dough should be just coming together. (taste to be sure salt was added)
Turn the dough out onto the counter.
The dough will be very sticky; do not give into the temptation to add more flour.Kneading wet dough:
(Confession: My dough was silky and lovely almost immediately, I don’t think I kneaded even 10 minutes and certainly it didn’t require any of the following fancy moves. I measured carefully both times and believe I was following the amounts.)
Hold hands, palms facing up, at opposite sides of the dough mass. Slide your fingers under the dough and lift the dough an inch or so from the surface. Squeeze your thumbs and index fingers together to form a tight OK sign through the dough. While holding the OK sign, continue to curl thumbs and index fingers tightly together to pinch off a portion of dough. Working as quickly and smoothly as possible, moving the dough mass in approximately 1 to 1.5 inch increments, until the entire dough mass has been worked through. You should begin to feel the dough coming together.
“Remember, your hands are your memory-pay attention to the feel of the dough as it comes together.”Turn dough a quarter turn and continue lifting, pinching and turning until it begins to take on an identifiable shape and becomes less and less sticky; taking anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes.  Resist the urge to add flour. A scraper is useful in collecting all the dough off the work area. Consider the dough kneaded when it forms into a ball. The dough should be soft, pliable and hold it’s shape; it should not be stiff and dry.Form dough into ball: using both hands, lift front and fold over, quickly dropping it down to the counter. Repeat 4-5 times until a ball is formed. Use the scraper to ensure all the dough is gathered.Using the palms of your hands, flatten the dough ball into a rectangle. Scatter the salami evenly down the middle. Wrap the sides up and over salami, pinch dough together, turn and repeat until the salami is incorporated.IMG_6212

This is the bacon and rosemary I kneaded in on the 2nd baking.

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This is the salami I used in the 1st baking.

Form into a ball. Again lifting from the front, fold it over onto itself in one movement then dropping dnow onto the counter. Repeat 4 to 5 times until ball forms. Using your scraper to be sure all the dough is gathered.
The dough should no longer be sticky. If it continues to be sticky repeat the folding process until it is no longer sticky.

5. First fermentation
3 hours Total time, fold each hour
The dough should register between 72° and 80°F Record the time you finish this step in your log noting the required time for the first bulk fermentation. The wine will extend the fermentation, probably to about three hours.
Use a container, either a large glass bowl are A clear rising container large enough to allow the dough to rise without coming in contact with the lid. Taking care to maintain the round shape, transfer the ball to the bowl or rising bucket. Cover the container.
Fermentation will take about one hour in a warm 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit draft free place.
Does the counter lightly with flour. Place the dough onto floured counter. Pat into a thick square. Lift the two right corners and fold into the center patting the seam lightly. Lift the left two corners and fold into the center lightly patting the seam down. Repeat with the top two corners and the bottom two corners meeting in the middle patting down the seams.
Return the Dough to the bowl seam side down cover return to A warm draft free place for about an hour. Record the time in your log.
Repeat this process one more time Record each time in the log returning the ball to the warm draft replace. Total Time three hours.

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I wished for a more vine like stem but it eluded me.

6. Dividing
Flour the counter. Scrape the dough onto the counter and allow to rest 30 seconds.
If the dough is very sticky at this point dust your hands with flour but do not add additional flour. Use the bench scraper to lift the dough if it sticks to the counter but do not pull and do not stretch the dough. Press the dough into a rectangle 12 inches by 4 to 5 inches wide. Be sure the dough is not sticking to the counter by lifting it to gently up. Cut the dough into 16 equal pieces with the bench scraper.

7. Shaping
Use parchment paper or a silicone liner in a baking sheet.
Roll 15 pieces into a small ball shape for rolls, the last piece Will become the grapevine. Create a triangle by setting for balls together in a line followed by a line of three balls then two balls and finally one ball. Angle the remaining four balls to one side of the triangle so that the entire piece resembles a large cluster of grapes with the smaller one to the side.
With the last piece of dough roll it into a rope about 10 inches long and shape it into a curve grape vine shape that you attach to the top of the grape cluster. Dust with flour.

8. Final fermentation
Final fermentation may take from 60 to 90 minutes. If it over proofs but dough will be unusable. Set the timer so that you can record the time it takes for the final fermentation. Place the baking sheet in a warm 75 to 80°F draft free place. Final fermentation will take from 60 to 90 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 450°  with a baking stone about 30 minutes before you are ready to bake. An effective and cheap way to achieve a crisp crust is to cover the bread with a stainless steel bowl when it is first placed in the oven on the lowest oven rack.
Determine the dough is ready to be baked by uncovering and making a small indentation in the center of the role with your fingertip. The dough is ready to be baked if the indentation slowly and evenly disappears.

9. Baking
Slide the baking sheet into the oven onto the pre-heated baking stone.
Here the directions call for using a stainless steel mixing bowl to cover the grape cluster in the oven. My daughter-in-law had the perfect stainless steel bowl which I used. I believe it’s more likely you may have a  rectanglular
pan that would fit over the grape cluster. What ever you find to fit over it, bake it for 10 minutes with the dough covered and then remove the bowl. Continue to bake until the bread is golden brown has a thick crust, total additional time 15 to 20 minutes. The total time baking then would be 25 to 30 minutes. The bread will be fully baked if it registers 185 two 210° F.
When fully baked transfer to cooling rack for at least one hour to cool.

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Notes:

If you don’t want to use wine perhaps for juice would be the best substitute. Another addition that might give some of the wine color would be fairly finely ground walnuts.  I am very open to any creativity you may have with this bread; feel free to use a touch of sourdough if you wish. I should have cut my salami smaller. I’m really looking to make this with rye and then again with sprouted wheat. If you’ve not baked with sprouted wheat, I encourage you to give it a try if you can find it. I’ve found  it really gives a beautiful aroma of wheat to everything I’ve used it in.

You should note: the yeast here is not proofed, it is not dissolved in liquid before being mixed in with the flour.

If the wine needs warming, place the bottle in a bowl of warm water.

Lionel Vatinet introduces this bread in the following way: “I spent much of my youth at my grandparent’s beautiful stone house, which is surround by a vineyard in the Rhone region of France. This bread pays homage to the first grape harvest of the year. Once again, this recipes uses the Basic Country French Bread  (see page 75) and then, with just a little slight of hand, turns into something unusual and spectacular. Using wine as the liquid slows the fermentation process, so you have to allow extra time. Since the bread is shaped into a grape cluster, it is the perfect centerpiece for an appetizer buffet to celebrate the arrival of November’s Beaujolais Nouveau. Guests are encouraged to pull off a “grape” to enjoy with their glass of wine. A wonderful way to celebrate the harvest!”

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I baked this first with salami. We took it to dinner at friends house and it was good but I felt I should have cut the salami even smaller.
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The second time I baked this with 4 slices of bacon and wished I’d had four more. We took this grape cluster to an end of school picnic. Loved it.
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Yes, I had to have the last roll with an egg for breakfast.
Bake along with us and be a bread baking buddy.  You know you want to. To be a Buddy let us know all about it, by sending your details and results to Tanna (as kitchen of the month this time). Send a mail with Buddy June 2014 in the subject line and please provide your name, blog url, post url and attach your favorite picture of the recipe. Send it to CommentsMyKitchen at mac dot  com. Deadline is the 29th of this month. We want your breads!!
Round-up will be as close to the end of June as possible!
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BBB – Wild Rice and Onion Bread

Our Kitchen of the Month Karen blogging at BakeMyDay has us baking Wild Rice and Onion Bread from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day.  We haven’t baked a regular “loaf” bread it would seem in forever … I guess a loaf could come to seem boring
Yield: 2 loaves or 1 loaf and 12 rolls

My thoughts and experience with NO-Knead:  The concept is instantly appealing. My first experience with the no-knead was through the New York Times Bittman-Lehay article. Karen (as in BakeMyDay) and I had a passing acquaintance through our blogs and one of us wrote the other that we were in the midst of doing that bread … funny thing … we had both started the bread within just hours of each other. I ended up taking my bread out of the oven about 4 AM(0400) … pretty crazy you think … I think I’m still that crazy. It was the first time I’d ever had my bread sing to me … I was so excited that I tried to record the sound, I mean at 4 in the morning who else was going to be hearing it? Alas, it was not to be. When I listened back on it, all I could hear was the refrigerator hum.  The bread itself was rather a disappointment. The crust was initially fabulously crisp … almost to the point (very sharp point) of being knife like and the interior was sort of gummy, lacking in flavor. 

However the experience was fabulous because it was probably what started Karen and I becoming fast baking buddies.
This loaf:  I loved the flavor from caramelized onions and the flash of the wild rice in the crumb. It was lovely fresh with just butter, as toast with butter, as brochette with fresh tomato and for tuna salad sandwiches. I’ll use it with herbs and spinach for a turkey stuffing.
Excellent bread. Fabulous rolls.
You will note: Reinhart does not require you to dissolve/proof the yeast in water in order to mix the dough.  This dough will rest overnight in the fridge or unto four days before it needs to be baked – my rolls were in the refrigerator 5 days and came out perfect.  You should feel free to use dried or fresh onions according to the recipe. I chose to caramelize the onion before mixing it into the dough.  Many of the Babes used a portion of whole grains instead of all white bread flour. I just enjoy the whole wheat flavor and I know it’s the healthier.
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Wild Rice and Onion Bread
2 loaves
6 cups (27 oz / 765 g) unbleached bread flour, used 250 grams KA Irish whole grain and bread flour combination
2 1/4 teaspoons (0.6 oz / 17 g) salt, or 3 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
2 tablespoons (0.66 oz / 19 g) instant yeast, used a short 2 tablespoons; use all next time
1 cup (6 oz / 170 g) cooked wild rice or another cooked grain
1/4 cup (2 oz / 56.5 g) brown sugar
11/2 cups (12 oz / 340 g) lukewarm water (about 95°F or 35°C), used milk & yogurt here
1/2 cup (4 oz / 113 g) lukewarm buttermilk or any other milk (about 95°F or 35°C), used water for this amount
1/4 cup (1 oz / 28.5 g) minced or chopped dried onions, or 2 cups (8 oz / 227 g) diced fresh onion (about 1 large onion)
1 egg white, for egg wash (optional)
1 tablespoon water, for egg wash (optional)

1. Do Ahead:
Combine all of the ingredients, except the egg wash, in a mixing bowl. If using a mixer, use the paddle attachment and mix on the lowest speed for 1 minute. If mixing by hand, use a large spoon and stir for 1 minute.
The dough should be sticky, coarse, and shaggy.  Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

I simply mixed by hand.

2. Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium-low speed, or continue mixing by hand, for 4 minutes, adjusting with flour or water as needed to keep the dough ball together.
The dough should be soft, supple, and slightly sticky. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough for 2 to 3 minutes, adding more flour as needed to prevent sticking. The dough will still be soft and slightly sticky but will hold together to form a soft, supple ball.
Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and immediately refrigerate overnight or for up to 4 days. (If you plan to bake the dough in batches over different days, you can portion the dough and place it into two or more oiled bowls at this stage.)
I mixed entirely by hand.

3. On Baking Day:
Remove the dough from the refrigerator about 2 hours before you plan to bake.
Shape the dough into one or more sandwich loaves, using 28 ounces (794 g) of dough for 4 1/2 by 8-inch loaf pans and 36 ounces (1.02 kg) of dough for 5 by 9-inch pans; into freestanding loaves of any size, which you can shape as bâtards, baguettes, or boules; or into rolls, using 2 ounces (56.5 g) of dough per roll. When shaping, use only as much flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking.
For sandwich loaves, proof the dough in greased loaf pans. For freestanding loaves and rolls, line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone mat and proof the dough on the pan.

4. Mist the top of the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
Let the dough rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until increased to about 1 1/2 times its original size. In loaf pans, the dough should dome at least 1 inch above the rim.
If you’d like to make the rolls more shiny, whisk the egg white and water together, brush the tops of the rolls with the egg wash just before they’re ready to bake.

5. About 15 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C), or 300°F (149°C) for a convection oven. I used convection oven at 305°
Bake the loaves for 10 to 15 minutes, then rotate the pan; rotate rolls after 8 minutes. The total baking time is 45 to 55 minutes for loaves, and only 20 to 25 minutes for rolls.
The bread is done when it has a rich golden color, the loaf sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom, and the internal temperature is above 185°F (85°C) in the center. Mine registered 195° and was not over done.
Cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes for rolls or 1 hour for loaves before slicing.

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Notes:

Karen Notes:
I like to add cheese (feta anyone?). And chives (or or…spinach? Tanna?). Not always. But it is a nice addition… I have successfully used yoghurt instead of buttermilk I also subbed potato water for the water (oh and added some mashed potato as well… tsk tsk) Hmm looks like I never can follow a recipe or leave good alone tsk tsk Have to admit that I never used the actual wild rice in the recipe but just the ordinary brown. Just make sure any rice you use is properly done (soft-ish) because otherwise any bits on top of your bread will be pointy and dry. Not appealing. Also… you can use any cooked grain. I’m thinking of using quinoa or whole wheat bulgur this time. Will update with pictures later …. and some more info. Just wanted to post the recipe for anyone to read and shoot.

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My Notes:
I know this would be lovely with some rye … but Karen suggests this results in a sticky sloppy dough when allowed to rise in the fridge.
I would use 2 large sweet onions caramelized next baking.
Rosemary or sage could be a lovely addition making this an ideal Turkey stuffing bread.  Cheese would be stunning.

Spinach! yes!

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And then I have visions of bacon … oh yes I do.

What is your vision? Bake along with us and be a bread baking buddy.  You know you want to. Bread Baking Buddy, be a Buddy and let us know all about it, by sending your details and results to Karen (as kitchen of the month this time). Send a mail with Buddy May 2014 in the subject line and please provide your name, blog url, post url and attach your favorite picture of the recipe. Send it to bakemyday (at) gmail (polkadot) com. Deadline is the 29th of this month. We want your breads!!
Round-up will be around the end of this month! (maybe a bit later as my twin boys celebrate their birthdays, by that time finished their final exams and will go on their first “vacation without parents but with friends”. Yikes. All in the course of those last days of this month.)

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BBB – Pretzel Croissants

The BBB is organized by very few rules. There is no rule around that says you must bake every bread that comes up. There is an understanding that we all have a passion for baking bread. I’m fascinated with the why and how flour, water, yeast can come together in endless fashion and come out of the oven still being bread. I an now confessing to you, I wasted a lot of time thinking very negative thoughts about the idea of Pretzel Croissants and came within a hair’s breath of skipping this one. I was thinking: What a gimmick! Why are we looking at a recipe for Pretzel Croissants? I love pretzels. I love croissants. Why would you put the two together.
It would have been really easy to skip this month’s recipe BUT if you’re going to be a Babe you gotta’ be ready for anything and so I baked …        

I really hope you have a go with these, they sure won my grandson’s heart and all the adults around as well. My best advice on these: read the recipe, mark it up in whatever fashion will keep you focused on the timeline. Three days seems like a long time but I think you’ll find you’re not doing much more than a few minutes the first day and maybe 40 minutes the next two days each. They are worth the effort and the wait. My grandson is already begging for more.

Pretzel Croissants (BBB April 2014 Bread)

Recipe from Heather out of Pretzel Making at Home by Andrea Slonecker
Yield: 1 doz
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DOUGH:
1/2 cup (120 ml) lukewarm milk (~110° F)
7 g (1/4 ounce / 2-1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar (golden or dark)
410 g (3-1/4 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour + more for work surface
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temp
1/2 cup (120 ml) cold pilsner-style beer
for the butter block:
340 g (12 ounces / 24 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
to finish:
60 grams (1/4 cup) baked (see notes) baking soda
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon milk
coarse salt
sesame seeds and/or poppy seeds, optional


1. DAY ONE 

DOUGH: Stir the yeast and 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar into the lukewarm milk and allow to sit  until foamy, 5 minutes or so.

2. Whisk the flour, remaining brown sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour mixture, breaking it up into tiny flour-coated pieces the size of breadcrumbs. Stir in the yeast mixture and the beer using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to form a shaggy mass.

3. Turn the dough out onto an unfloured work surface and knead eight to ten times, until all of the flour is just incorporated. You don’t want to over work it, because you don’t want the butter to melt too much. The dough will not be a smooth mass; you will see some flecks of butter. It should be soft and tacky, but not sticky. Adjust as needed with flour or water.

4. Lightly oil a large bowl  and set the dough into it. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours (24 will give you the best flavor).

5. BUTTER BLOCK: Beat the butter and flour together in the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment until it forms a smooth mass (or by hand, using a lot of elbow grease). This should take about a minute. You want the butter to be pliable without beating air into it or melting it.

6. Spread the butter between 2 large sheets of plastic wrap (or parchment or wax paper), and use a rolling pin to shape into a rectangle that is about 8″x9″. Use a straight edge to form corners, but work quickly as you want the butter to stay cool. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until you’re ready to roll out the dough.

7. DAY TWO:

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I’m here to tell you it’s really hard to get sharp corners and straight edges … ultimately I think getting the inches correct matters more.

1st TURN: Scatter a little bit of flour on your work surface, then turn the dough out onto it. Roll it out into a rectangle that is 10″x15″ and about 1/4″ thick. Using your hands, gently pull and stretch the dough to form straight edges and sharp corners. Brush excess flour off of the dough. Set the dough with a long edge facing you.

8. Mentally divide the dough into 3 equal portions. Place the butter block over the right 2/3 of the dough, leaving a 1″ border on the outer edges. Fold the empty left portion of the dough over the middle third. Now, lift and fold the right section of dough over that. You should have 3 layers of dough that encase 2 layers of butter. Pinch the outsides and the seams together and lightly press the layers together using a rolling pin. This completes the first turn. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

9. 2nd TURN: Remove the dough from the fridge and set it on your lightly floured work surface. Roll dough out into a 10″x20″ rectangle, pulling and stretching to form straight edges and sharp corners. Brush off any excess flour. Set the dough with a long edge facing you. Fold both of the short ends in to the center, leaving a 1/4″ gap where they meet (think of a book jacket). Fold one side of the dough over the other. Lightly press the layers together using a rolling pin, and square and sharpen the edges and corners. This completes the second turn. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

10. 3rd AND FINAL TURN: Lightly dust your work surface and the top of the dough with flour. Roll dough out into a 10″ by 15″ rectangle. Do another trifold, as done in the first turn (mentally divide into thirds, then fold one third over the center, followed by the last third). Square the edges and sharpen the sides; wipe off excess flour. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but up to another 24 hours. I did do a fourth(4th) turn just for the fun of it.

IMG_5384Folds tend to give you sharper corners and straighter edges.

11. PROCEED OR FREEZE  (At this point, you can wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap, slide it into a freezer baggie, and freeze for up to 1 week. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before proceeding to final shaping.)

12. DAY THREE:   SHAPING:   Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Trim the edges of the dough on every edge using a ruler and pizza wheel. This cuts off the folded edges that would inhibit the “puff.” 

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Above are the edge leftover pieces baked.

13. Lightly dust your work surface and top of your dough with flour. Roll out into a 15″x18″ rectangle that is ~1/4″ thick. Pull and stretch to form straight edges and sharp corners. Patch any holes where butter may have popped through by dusting them with flour.  Brush any excess flour off the dough.

14. Cut the rectangle in half lengthwise, creating two 15″x9″ sheets of dough. Using a pizza cutter or bench scraper, cut each piece of dough into three equal strips, the short way. Then cut each strip in half diagonally, so that you left with 6 triangles. Repeat with other piece of dough.

15. Beginning at the base, roll the triangles up, tugging on the tip to elongate it slightly, then gently pressing it into the dough. Place on the prepared baking sheets with the tips tucked under, and curve the ends to form crescent shapes.


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16. RISE:   Cover the croissants with damp, clean kitchen towels and allow to rise at cool room temperature until they have almost doubled in size and feel spongy, ~2 hours.

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17. At this point, slide the croissants into the refrigerator for 20 minutes while you prepare the dipping solution. Preheat oven to 425° F, positioning one rack in the upper third of the oven, and one in the lower third.

18. DIPPING SOLUTION:  Add the baked baking soda in 8 cups of cold water and stir until completely dissolved. One by one, dip the croissant dough into the dipping solution, allow the excess to drip off, then set back on the lined trays.

19. Finish them off (finally): Brush the tops with the egg wash, then sprinkle with coarse salt and sesame seeds or poppy seeds, if using.

20. BAKE:   Slide into preheated oven immediately and bake for 14-18 minutes (rotating pans from front to back and top to bottom halfway through), until they are deeply browned, crispy, and flaky. They should feel light and airy if you pick them up.

21. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes before serving. They are best enjoyed the day they are made, ideally warm from the oven. Store any extras in a paper bag for a day. You can reheat them by placing them in a 350° F oven for ~5 minutes. 

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… and the crumb shot. Trust me these are light and crunchy!

Notes:

Note that the dough takes from 24-48 hours from start to the time you form them. The butter block should be formed sometime while the dough is rising. Baked baking soda is an alternative to using lye; it needs 1 hour in the oven (see notes).


BAKED BAKING SODA is an alternative to working with lye that still lends pretzels their dark, burnished crust. To make the baked baking soda, spread 1/4 cup (~70 grams) of baking soda out on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or foil (or in a pie pan). It will decrease in weight, but shouldn’t decrease in volume. Slide it into an oven that has been preheated to 250° F/120° C and bake for 1 hour. Cool completely, then store in an airtight container at room temperature. If you see lots of pretzels in your future, make a large batch to store since it keeps indefinitely.

BBB logo April 2014

Needless to say I can’t thank Heather Kitchen of the Month enough for this one.

The Bread Baking Buddies are: YOU! So which Babe is the hosting kitchen this month?  That would be Heather  at girlichef, if you’d like to join in, simply make Pretzel Croissants (yes, you may adapt) – and then email  your link (or email your photo and a bit about your experience if you don’t have a blog) to girlichef (at) yahoo (dot) com.  Submissions are due by April 29th.  Once you’ve posted, you’ll receive a Buddy badge for baking along, then watch for a roundup of all of the BBBuddies posts a few days after the close of submissions. I hope you’ll join us this month! – See Our Hostess’s post at: http://www.girlichef.com/2014/04/Pretzel-Croissants.html#more

All Babes Links Appear in right side bar. For a most bizarre tale of pretzel-croissant making check this one out.

New meaning for the word CLING!


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Float Your Boat … ok, Float Your Dough (BBB – Water-Proofed Bread)

This month’s BBB Bread Kitchen of the Month, Elle from Feeding My Enthusiasms, is a monthly reminder of why I don’t seem to be able to tire of baking bread.  You think you’ve seen and done it all? HaHaHa, Oh no you have not.  Grandchildren are now another reason I won’t be tiring of baking bread.

Cinnamon rolls are always nice but with brioche dough they pass into heavenly!

Cinnamon rolls are always nice but with brioche dough they pass into heavenly!

Our Kitchen of the Month found this recipe in Beard on Bread; published in 1973.  I believe I bought my copy in 1975.  It was my first and only bread book for several years.  I think I’ve added several bread books to my collection recently … and how classic an understatement is that.

Water-Proofed Bread

Yield: 2 loaves

2 packages active dry yeast, used scant tablespoon not the 2 tablespoons in a package
1/2 cup warm water (100 – 115 degrees F), used 1/2 cup skim milk instead of water; would use potato water if available
1/8 cup brown sugar, cut the 1/4 cup in half
1/2 cup warm skim milk
1 stick butter
2 teaspoons salt, used 1/2 teaspoon and salted butter
3 eggs
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup more kneading, used: 1 cup bread flour, 1 cup spelt, 1 cup whole wheat, 1/2 cup white whole wheat.
More flour for the tea towel

1. Rinse a 4-quart mixing bowl with warm water. Dry thoroughly. Put in the yeast, the 1/2 cup warm water(skim milk or potato water), and teaspoon brown sugar, and stir until the yeast dissolves. Allow to proof for 5 minutes.
Heat the milk with the butter and 1/4 cup sugar until lukewarm, then add to the yeast mixture. Add the salt and stir to blend well. Add the eggs, one at a time, and again blend thoroughly.

How to stir it up.

How to stir it up.

Then stir in 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time, to make what will probably be a very wet and sticky dough. Stir quite vigorously. Spread out the dough on a working surface – a table, a piece of marble, or a board – sprinkled with the additional 1/2 cup flour.

CONFESSION:  I did not dissolve the yeast. I dry mixed it into the flour and proceeded.
Use a baker’s scraper or large spatula to work in this last portion of flour and make the dough firmer. Scrape under the flour and the dough, lifting and folding inward. Repeat until the flour is well incorporated.
Lots of help with stirring.

Lots of help with stirring.

2. When the dough is easy to handle, begin kneading by hand. Continue until the dough can be shaped. (The process of kneading first with the scraper and then by hand if very effective for delicate dough. In this case the dough will remain rather sticky, but don’t worry about it.)3. Lift the dough, pat with flour, and place on a clean kitchen towel also sprinkled with flour. Wrap it and tie it in the towel, just as you would a package, but very loosely.  I tied the towel with a rubber band.

Yep, it sank.

Yep, it sank.

4. Submerge this packet in a large bowl  filled with warm water (about 100 – 115 degrees F, approximately). It will sink.  Submerge: you don’t really have to do anything it just sinks.

5. Let sit for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until it rises sufficiently to float on top of the water. … and it does float to the top.

Floats to the top.

Floats to the top.

6. Lift the dough from the water and let the excess water drip off. Un-wrap and turn out on a lightly floured surface. A rubber/plastic/soft bench scrapper is very helpful peeling it off the towel.

New meaning for the word CLING!

New meaning for the word CLING!

You will have good results getting the towel clean IF you immediately put it to soak in COLD water.
Again it will be quite sticky, so scrape off any dough that adheres to the towel. Knead and shape into two loaves, using both dough scraper and your hands.

7. Thoroughly butter two 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pans and place one loaf in each pan. Cover, put in a warm, draft-free place, and let the dough rise slightly above the tops of the pans, or until almost doubled in bulk.

2nd rise.

2nd rise.

8. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Brush the dough with cold water, and, if you like, make a slash in each loaf with a sharp knife. Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 30 – 35 minutes, or until the loaves sound hollow when rapped with the knuckles, top and bottom. When done, place the loaves directly on the oven rack, without their pans, to brown the bottom a little more and crisp the crusts. Cool on racks.

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Notes:

You should have good results getting the towel clean IF you immediately put it to soak in COLD water.  By the time you’ve shaped the dough for the final rise, the towel should be ready to rinse out a couple of time, be dough free and ready for the wash.

This is a beautiful bread; made fabulous French toast and regular toast. Thanks Pat for a great bread and a totally new and unique technique in bread making.

The Slice & Crumb!

The Slice & Crumb!

Want to be a Bread Baking Buddy and bake along with us.  Pop on over to Feeding My Enthusiasms To receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: make water-proofed bread (dredge yur tea towel!!) in the next couple of weeks and post about it (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 29 March 2014. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to email the Kitchen of the Month to say that your post is up and put Bread Baking Buddy in the subject line.

My Comments on BEARD ON BREAD:  Wednesday, February 4, 2009

This was my very first bread book purchased in 1975 the year after our second son was born and our move to Dallas.  At the time, I had no idea who James Beard was but I do remember my mother saying he had a place in our family tree.

This maybe considered out dated by some but I think more would consider it a classic as I do.  Most of the recipes are simple perhaps but they give you great bread and an excellent feel for good bread.  The recipes are varied and have helpful illustrations.  I’ve never missed that there are no photos in this book.  Recipe directions are clear and concise, giving simple but good descriptions of what the dough should feel like during the kneading and shaping.  I can recommend this book to beginner and experienced alike.

About the only thing I do differently & consistently is reduce the amount of yeast called for in these recipes.  For whatever reason, most all recipes I find written in books from the 1950s through the 1970s call for much more yeast than they need and it can leave a stronger yeast flavor than I’m looking for in bread. Too much yeast also results in an overly fast rise that prevents the flour flavor to develop.

Breads Baked

Buttermilk White Bread – made excellent hamburger buns

Jane Grigson’s Walnut Bread from Southern Burgundy – baked 34 loaves of this GREAT bread for my Greenhill Parent’s Association Board in 1991

Cornmeal Bread – baked with Jason’s 4th grade class for Thanksgiving Feast & Play

Cheese Bread – great sandwich bread

Pizza Caccia Nanza – wonderful

Italian Feather Bread

Norwegian Whole-Wheat Bread – great bread, usually make 1/2 recipe

Whole-Meal Bread with Potatoes – potatoes, it’s great

Cracked-Wheat Bread – excellent

Marnetta’s Oatmeal Bread

Oatmeal Bread with Cooked Oatmeal – this is the basis for my oatmeal breads today, almost cake like depending on the sugar used, makes excellent cinnamon rolls & bread

Monkey Bread – amazing

Challah

Irish Whole-Wheat Soda Bread – tradition with us for St Patty’s Day

Helen Evans Brown’s Corn Chili Bread – adapted over the years

Clay’s Cornsticks – oh the crunch and joy

Carl Gohs’ Zucchini Bread

Armenian Thin Bread became Gorn’s Flat Bread

Every recipe from this book I’ve ever tried has been wonderful.

Updated  17 May 2010:  I was unsuccessful with the Salt-Rising Bread recipe.

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12 Comments

BBB Rgaïf – Moroccan Flat Bread

I am a little at a loss as to what I should talk about first … because I’m excited about so much happening. Perfect with Vegetable Beef Soup I’m excited to celebrate the Babes baking together for SIX -6- YEARS! I’m excited to welcome our two new Babes to keep us at an even active dozen.

Aparna from My Diverse Kitchen

Cathy from Bread Experience

And I’m very excited to have Lien as our Kitchen of the Month. Lien ( http://notitievanlien.blogspot.com ) is taking us to Morroco for a very delicate, sweet or savory if you fill it, flat bread.

Upon reading Lien’s recipe, my thoughts went something like this:

  • Hahahaha…yes I am on the floor knees up holding on for dear life. Scared, terrified … Why go on! My best position with this maybe to just … Oh shut up, just gut it up woman, go find a kitchen … Yes, find a kitchen …
  • The words that scared me:  Thin as paper …
  • This just rolled across your desk Lien. Um, it’s square … and flat … and thin … square & flat that must be why it didn’t keep rolling and fall off and get lost.
  • I can’t imagine how this can work and I’ll have plenty of time to shake and be scared until visiting friends and family in Florida in February.

Well, the friends we’re staying with gave me the OK to try these out in their kitchen.  These were good but I consider this bake “challenged”. It is always something of a distraction to bake in someone else’s kitchen and use what is there but it is also fun and can give a very new perspective to our “opinions” of what will work. Whenever I’m baking a recipe like this one … let me pause here to define what “this one” means to me … Bread in general has a long chain of history going back thousands of years. We were baking eons before fancy stand mixers, before yeast came in packets, before high tech designed pans and ovens and long before hybridized flours. This flatbread and others like it have long been baked by almost every culture we know and under very primitive conditions that you and I might consider impossible. That is a big part of why I think it is so wonderful to see “ancient” grains coming (back) onto the market and it’s the rational I use for adding whole grains of any kind even when not called for in a recipe. So while I may find an unfamiliar kitchen a challenge, I try to think of it as more fun than impossible. For this baking I used cups to measure the flour as no scale was available, bleached AP flour as that was what was on hand and one cup of whole wheat flour that I had brought with me from Seattle to Florida. I can’t remember the last time I bought “bleached” flour for anything but it must have been 25 to 30 years ago.

BBB Rgaïf – Moroccan Flat Bread

Recipe By: Lien from “Vrijdag couscousdag” by R. Ahali

Yield: 10-16 flat breads

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Ingredients:

500 grams flour, half whole wheat, half AP(2+ cups total)

1/2 teaspoon crushed rosemary

30 grams ground flax seed, will use next time!

5,5 grams dry yeast (used 1 1/4 teaspoon)

1/2 teaspoon salt

250 ml 250 ml water

50 ml olive oil

(after watching the video & slide show, I’ll be much more liberal with the oil next time; probably make it a mix of butter and olive oil)

Directions: Mix flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Kneading by hand:  Make a well in the centre and add some water, start mixing in the flour where it touches the water. Little by little add more water and keep mixing in the flour. Start kneading, grease your hands with a little oil to prevent sticking. Knead about 20 minutes. Mine took about 12 minutes  to become smooth and supple.  Add water if it feels too dry. Whenever I have to add water to a mixed dough, I try to add enough by wetting my hands and kneading it in – it takes time but it can be done. The dough needs to be very elastic and no dough should stick to your hands. There was no resting/rising time called for by the recipe … but, right you guessed it, rebel that I am to make it fit my schedule, at this point I oiled the dough ball, covered and refrigerated it. Several hours later it was shaped and baked as you see below. IMG_3748 Shape: Make 10- 16 dough balls depending on your pan size and how large you want them. Coat every ball with a little olive oil. Let them rest for about 5 minutes. Flatten the ball with your hand as much as you can. Stretch the dough. Take care to get no (or a little as possible) holes in the dough.  (While you only see 8 balls of dough here, this only represents half of the recipe. I divided the dough in half for ease of shaping and to prevent drying the dough.) IMG_3754You need to stretch the dough until it gets as thin as you can, thinner than paper if possible. It’s best done on a counter top, stretching the dough and sticking it to the surface, so it doesn’t spring back. This is not easy. Now fold the dough in squares by folding the round sides inwards. IMG_4916 Just before putting the squares into the skillet on low heat, the squares maybe flattened and spread out some again. Bake the squares in a hot large pan on both sides. I found a lower heat allowed the squares to bake through without burning. Only use more oil if the Rgaïf stick to the pan. You can also deep fry them (as they do in southern Morocco).IMG_3749 Serve: You can serve them with syrup, (strawberry) jam, chocolate sauce. But also you can use savory things, like thinly slices meat, cheese ecc. You can also spread some filling in them, before folding and baking them just keep in mind to make it thin.IMG_3764 After I baked the breads, I watched the following and made the following notes. I believe you will find the note links one to a video and the second to a slide show. Notes from video:

Notes from slide show:

Before folding, I lightly sprinkled several of these with cheddar cheese, several with goat cheese and several with jack cheese and pepperoni.  Some Beef Vegetable Soup was the perfect dinner with these Rgaïf! IMG_4922On the plate above you’ll see one that looks burned (it was not) and is rectangular. That one I brushed with brown sugar and cinnamon before folding. We divided it. It was the hit of the bunch for the sweet lovers. I of  course really loved the goat cheese. What did these look like in a side view? Did the yeast have any effect on these?  You must forgive the poor quality photo next.  It’s a little out of focus but it’s the only inside/side one I took. IMG_4941 What will I do different:

  • be prepared to start at medium low temperature not high
  • flatten each square again before adding to the skillet for baking; aim to get thinner layering
  • be more experimental with fillings

These were great fun! Good enough to do again. I’d like to try them with a Moroccan tagine. Check out all the Awesome Twelve Babes on my right side bar! Want to help us celebrate SIX YEARS OF BAKING and be a Most Awesome Bread Baking Buddy?  That would be just super awesome with us.  Lien is Kitchen of the Month:   Become our Bread Baking Buddy, stretch, fold, bake, taste, eat and let us know all about it, by sending your details and results to me (as I’m kitchen of the month this time). Mail me your name, blog url, post url and attach your favorite picture of the recipe. Send it to notitievanlien(at)gmail(polkadot)com. Deadline is the 29th of this month. You’ll be added to the round up somewhere in the first week of March ánd of course receive a wonderful Bread Baking Buddy Badge to add to your own post. I’ll be happy to see your entries come in!! BBB logo February 2014

BBB logo january 2014


10 Comments

BBB … no kitchen

What a time to be on the road and no bread baking kitchen really available and to top that putting my 97 year old Dad in the hospital for several days.

The BBB time of the month is always a highlight for me and I’m really disappointed to be missing this one on every level imaginable. It’s hard for me to fully communicate what a special little group this is to me.  I love that we come from many places and histories and find so much commonality within ourselves. I love that our glue is our shared passion for baking bread and sharing all the glorious mysteries of it’s coming out of the oven. We had one of our wonderful wild exchanges with this month’s bread and it really made me long to be baking. But try as I might, I simply couldn’t carry it off.

Our most gracious Kitchen of the Month is Jamie from Life’s a Feast. Life’s a Feast is such a wonderful title for her and the way I feel about her bread this month even though I can’t be baking it. No matter the ups and downs of life, no matter that I can’t bake this one Life is a Feast and I’m happy to be in it.

The bread Jamie has brought us this month is from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (revised & updated edition) by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoë François. They have a wonderful web site, Artisan Bread in 5 I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

The bread: Chocolate Prune Bread. Everything shared on our blog makes me sure you really want to try this bread … I know I really really want to.

Hope you enjoy this one and join our Bread Baking Buddy group and bake with us. January’s Bread Baking Babes recipe is Chocolate Prune Bread from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (revised & updated edition) by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoë François. You too can bake along with us and be a Bread Baking Buddy. Simply bake this Chocolate Prune Bread, blog it – don’t forget to mention being a Bread Baking Buddy and link back to this blog post! Then send Jamie the link (please include your name and your blog’s name) by January 26th to jamieannschler AT gmail DOT com with January Bread Baking Buddy in the subject line and I will add you to the roundup at the end of the month.

I’ll do my very best to bake next month when I may well be trying from Florida!

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8 Comments

BBB Modern Lardy Cake Bread – can cake be bread?

Lien at Notitie Van Lien our lovely Kitchen of the Month has brought Babes and Buddies just a wonderful new but old bread: Modern Lardy Cake … not don’t get up in arms, this is really not cake, it is bread. I will tell you it is a delight as a sweet dessert like bread (or cake if you like) after dinner and it is equally delightful at breakfast! Call it bread or call it cake or call it cake bread but I can tell you it’s so good. The bonus is it is Christmas Holiday perfect.

Thank you Lien in so many ways.

Thank you Lien in so many ways.

Among the Babes, we talked wildly and I think radically about lard, butter, goose fat, duck fat: as possibilities for use in this recipe. If I’d been in a full kitchen and been able to find fresh lard (not hydrogenated like the grocer tried to sell me) and duck fat, I’d be baking this with each. As things worked out all I could come up with for the fat was salted butter from my local dairy. I used all the salt called for in the recipe and the salted butter as Lien and several others thought it needed more. And I’d seek out a special dried cherry mix that Gorn really enjoys. Pick a dried fruit or dried fruit combo that you enjoy and this bread will be spectacular. I might even go really crazy and put in a few walnuts. You know I really enjoy savory but this is just the right sweet. We loved it.

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Check out all the Babes, you’ll find all sorts of variety but I think you’ll find we all enjoyed this bread and you’ll want to get in the kitchen and bake!

Lien found this recipe in “Warm Bread and Honey Cake” by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra. I have the book and it is everything you want in a warm baking kitchen.

Lardy Cake: Modern

Recipe By: Lien from “Warm Bread and Honey Cake” by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra
Yield: 9 inch round springform

Lardy Bread Cake

Dough
375 grams strong white flour – bread flour, I used half white whole wheat/whole grain
20 grams flax seed meal
1 ½  teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
35 grams butter, melted and cooled
200 milliliters milk, warmed

I love this container. It's so easy to tell when a dough has doubled in volume.

I love this container. It’s so easy to tell when a dough has doubled in volume.

Filling
100 grams butter, softened
75 grams soft dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, I used 1 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
50-75 gram currants or raisins (or a mix), I’ll try closer to 100 grams next time
beaten egg, to glaze

 

1. Put all the dough ingredients in a large mixing bowl and knead  (preferably with a dough hook in a heavy duty mixer) until smooth and supple. Bring the dough together in a ball and return to the bowl. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.  That heavy duty mixer … oops it’s still in it’s box. So I’m here to tell you “Don’t give a worry, you can do this without a mixer.” I did need to add a little more water than recipe called for. Toward the end of kneading I would dip my hands in a little water until I got a supple dough.

2. To make the filling, mix butter, sugar and spices together until creamy.

An easy mix when the butter is room temp.

An easy mix when the butter is room temp.

3. Knock the risen dough back and re-knead it briefly. Roll it out to a rectangle  about 50 x 25 cm (20 x 10 in). Spread the filling evenly over two-thirds of the dough sheet, leaving one outer third empty and about 4 cm (1 ½ inch) on all sides. If using, sprinkle the dried fruit over this and press down to embed. Fold the empty third over the middle third and the remaining third over this. Pinch all the edges well to seal the filling in. Cover with a sheet of clingfilm and leave to rest for about 5 minutes to relax.

4. Give the parcel a quarter turn and roll it into a rectangle about 30 x 15 cm (12 x 6 in). Fold into thirds again and leave to rest for 5 minutes. Repet this procedure three more times, turning the dough by a quarter turn and rolling and folding. If you find you are losing too much filling, omit the final turn.

5. This is a delicate, difficult and messy work as the filling oozes out in weak spots. You might want to read that again: This is a delicate, difficult and messy work as the filling oozes out in weak spots. Don’t get too caught up in leaks, just go with it.

Patch them up as good as you can and continue to work. All the oozing bits will caramelize nicely as the cake bakes. Oh my did we ever get some smart remarks on our bottoms! But you don’t want to lose too much filling as the laminating effect. Grease the tin and put the dough packet in it, then flatten it with your hand to fit it in as well as possible. Cover with clingfilm and leave it to rise until almost doubled.

6. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF).

Who knows where the springform was, into the oven it goes.

Who knows where the springform was, into the oven it goes.

7. Brush the dough with beaten egg, then lightly score a cross-hatched pattern onto the surface. Don’t cut into the filling. Bake for 25-30 minutesj or until brown. Remove from the oven, but leave in the tin for about 5 minutes. Carefully release the clip and turn the cake upside down on a wire rack. Remove the bottom of the tin, which will probably still be attached to it, and leave to cool further. Eat lukewarm or cold, cut into wedges or slices.

Bottoms up and out of the oven.

Bottoms up and out of the oven.

Don’t be shy … I know your busy but really this was very friendly dough and would make a treat for anyone special on your list at any time but probably most especially now.  Tell us what your experiences were with this bread and send Lien (notitievanlien(at)gmail(dot)come) your details so she can include you in a round up. Deadline 29th of December.

Does it make good toast? Oh my heavens yes! Good for breakfast, afternoon snack and dinner treat! Now BAKE!

Does it make good toast? Oh my heavens yes! Good for breakfast, afternoon snack and dinner treat! Now BAKE!