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

BBB logo November 2015



This month’s bread is visually stunning, looks fancy and like it could be fussy.  But it’s not … fussy that is.

Lien, our Kitchen of the Month for November, introduced this bread as savory.  I changed around Lien’s suggested filling slightly but the lamb sounded good and I’m always in for savory.  We really really enjoyed this over several days, for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.  I would absolutely bake this again just as I’ve written it below.  I would absolutely recommend you get in the kitchen and bake it too.

Russian Chrysanthemum Bread

Recipe By: Lien:  adapted from:
Yield: one large round loaf; or two smaller

350 grams bread flour
100 grams sprouted wheat flour
50 grams white whole wheat flour
7 grams dry instant yeast
20 grams ground flax seed
20 grams chia seeds
125 ml milk, lukewarm
125 yogurt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
90 ml olive oil
GLAZE, I omitted this
1 TBsp milk
1 egg yolk
Equipment Needed
1 round cookie cutter 2 1/2 inches in diameter
large shallow pie dish 28 cm in diameter
450 grams lamb ground, sauted
½ red pepper, seeds removed, chopped fine
1 poblano chile, chopped fine
3 garlic clove, chopped
1 red onion, chopped fine
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon all spice
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika powder
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
80 grams grated smoked gruyere cheese, grated for topping/garnish
water, to give moisture or tomato sauce


1. DOUGH I omitted sugar called for in Lein’s recipe and mixed yeast and salt with the flours, flax and chia seeds.  I mixed yogurt, egg and oil together.  Then I mixed the dry ingredients with the wet.  Knead into a supple dough.

2. Shape into a ball and let rest in a lightly greased bowl, covered with plastic foil. Let the dough rise for about an hour or until doubled.

3. FILLING I made this several days before baking.
Glaze the chopped onion and garlic in a frying pan. Leave to cool.
Mix the ingredients except the cheese for the filling well. Set aside.

4. SHAPE & FINAL RISE Lightly grease your pie dish.
Work with about ⅓ of the dough at the time.  I didn’t read this and divided the dough in half; really divide in 3 parts would work much better.

Roll it out to a thickness of about 3 mm. Cut out rounds with a cookie cutter.
Place 1 tablespoon of filling on each round and sprinkle with some cheese. Fold the circle in half, and fold the two point together. It now looks like a petal.

Place in the pie dish, starting around the border with the point of the petal facing to the center. Repeat until there is just  a little space left in the middle. Make three slightly smaller circles, fill and fold as the others and place them in the middle. Cover with lightly greased plastic  or foil and leave to rest and rise for about 45 minutes.

5. BAKE Preheat the oven to 180ºC  (356°F)

Whisk egg yolk and milk for the glaze and brush the bread with it. I sprayed mine with water.
Place the bread in the oven on a rack and bake for 25 minutes.
Lower the temperature to 170ºC (340°F) and bake for another 10-15 minutes until golden.
When the loaf is done, take it out of the oven and the tin, place on a wire rack and brush with some melted butter. Let cool or eat warm.



Divide dough into three parts for easier handling.

Recipe makes enough dough for more than one 8 inch pie plate or perhaps I rolled my dough too thin.

Place small round baking dish in center if a dip is desired.


Sometimes stunning can seem like a limit.  By that I mean, at least for me, when Lien introduced this as savory for some reason all I could think of was a meat filling (even though she suggested a bean filling as a meat substitute idea).  Now, that I’ve baked this I’m struck with how fabulous these little pull apart bites are and how incredibly versatile this bread could be.  Perhaps it started when Karen put up her Pizza Chrysanthemum Bread.


Now, I have a constant running loop of “fillings” for this bread and they are not all savory: Peanut Butter & Jelly;  Garlic Butter;  Pepperoni Pizza;  Chicken Enchilada;  Refried Black Bean & Salsa;  Cinnamon Sugar;  Chocolate Chip with Peanut Butter;  …  and with the holidays coming up how about some traditionals like Mince Meat;  Pumpkin Pie; … well let’s just go with Pie as in Apple Pie …  Are you catching my drift?  This is a stunning shape for a bread.  The small bite size makes it perfect for so many different meals and snacks, it’s absolutely a natural for a party of any sort.


Yes, we really did have it for breakfast.  Much better than an egg mcmuffin.

Go BAKE, Be a BUDDY.  Tell me you love me … well, just tell me you love BREAD will be good.

As Lien says it:  Become our Bread Baking Buddy, bake, blog, post, tell us about it and you’ll be added to the round up post on my blog (begin of December) ánd you’ll receive the Bread Baking Buddy Badge that you can add to your post if you want. So get baking and sent you details to notitievanlien (at) gmail (dot) com. Subject: BBBuddy. Deadline is the 29th of November. Have fun baking!



BBB ~ Whole Wheat Tangzhong Bread

Bread … just flour, water, yeast … then maybe salt, butter, an egg … maybe nothing more, maybe just a tiny more … but good grief how as much as we love it and crave it; the variety using the same basics is overwhelming and awe inspiring.


This month Karen K (Karen’s Kitchen Stories) in her debut as a BBB is bringing us a most interesting bread.  Tangzhong Bread (aka Japanese Milk Bread, aka Hokkaido Milk Toast).  The recipe is based on the book 65 degrees C by Yvonne Chen, and adapted by Christine Ho.  You will find several versions of this bread on Karen’s site but with this BBB bake she went with a whole wheat version and that of course really warms my soul.  The bread uses a Tangzhong, a concoction of cooked flour and water that is cooked to 65 degrees C or 149 degrees F.  Sounds pretty much like a roux if you ask me.  If  you don’t have an instant read thermometer cook, don’t even pretend you can make do without it, you need one.

After I’d made the Tangzhong and it was cooling, I started thinking I should really try this baked in my Pullman loaf pan but too bad it wasn’t going to make enough dough to fill my long pan.

READ, I’ll never learn.
It says clearly “makes enough for two loaves”.

I had the final dough ingredients all measured. Luckily for some strange reason I had left the bowl on the scale and tared it out because when I poured the Tangzhong into the bowl it measured 200 grams.  The recipe only called for 100 grams.  Woops.  I was setting up for a mis-measure disaster or total genius.  200 grams of Tangzhong = 2 loaves: That should be enough dough to fill the Pullman pan.  So, I quick like measured all ingredients for another loaf … well except no more sugar, no more butter and no more than the 30 grams of flax seed that I had already added.  I am overjoyed with this bread in a Pullman loaf pan both with and without the lid.


I know one bread baker who says that even bad bread makes good toast and thinks very poorly of toast.  I on the other hand have a very high opinion of toast.  I’ll agree that many times less than great bread makes pretty good toast BUT I find there is a toast continuum as there is with almost anything.  While this bread is marvelous for sandwiches of all sorts, this bread maybe the ultimate toast.  This bread maybe the very definition of toast!

And now if you’re up for my dirty little secret:  While I do finally begin to see that Gorn has really begun to appreciate, taste and even differentiate really good bread from the factory stuff (see how polite I’m being not labeling it “library paste”), he still craves his childhood baloney on white bread.  In his childhood it was WonderBread; today in Michigan it’s there’s … drum roll please … Hillbilly Bread.  I kid you not, it is labeled Hillbilly Bread.  He got one of his cravings the week before I baked this bread.  His Hillbilly was gone when I baked this but there was still baloney.  This bread is the only bread I’ve ever baked that fit’s his craving.  Light and fluffy, awesome.  With that in mind, I think this might be the first bread I bake that my 7 y/o grandson will like.


50 grams bread flour
240 water
110 grams milk
45 grams whisked eggs (about one large egg)
100 grams Tangzhong (half of above) unless of course like me you have that large pullman pan
40 grams sugar (optional: I left out)
5 grams salt
200 grams bread flour
150 grams whole wheat flour
6 grams instant yeast
40 grams unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into pieces

Tangzhong mixture (makes enough for two loaves)
Mix the flour and water together until there aren’t any lumps.
Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and registers 149 degrees F or 65 degrees C. If you don’t have a thermometer, then yes, you really need to get one. Llook for lines in the mixture made by your spoon as your stir. Remove from the heat immediately when it reaches 149°.
Scrape the mixture into a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it onto the surface of the tangzhong.  Covering the mixture surface eliminates evaporation.  Let it cool, and then refrigerate it for several hours.  I did not refrigerate either time I baked this.

Bring it back to room temperature when you are ready to use it. Or just let it cool to room temp before using it as I did.
This will last a couple of days. If it starts to turn gray, toss it.

Makes one loaf, and is easily doubled Add all of the ingredients except the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer. You can also mix by hand or bread machine.

Mix the ingredients until they form a dough. Add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, until incorporated. Knead until the dough becomes very elastic. More is better.

Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled, about 40 minutes. I’m sure it could cold ferment overnight, but haven’t done it.


Divide the dough into 3 or four equal pieces and form each piece into a ball.
IMG_9798With a rolling pin, roll each ball into a 10 inch long oval. Fold the oval into thirds, widthwise, like an envelope. Turn the envelope so that the short side is facing you, and roll it into a 10 to 12 inch length.
Roll that piece like a cinnamon roll, with the folded sides on the inside, and place the piece in an oiled bread pan, seam side down.
IMG_9801Repeat with the other pieces, placing them next to each other. IMG_9802Those words “Roll that piece like a cinnamon roll” should tell you this is just begging for a filling!  I had elaborate plans for my second bake (brown sugar butter, cinnamon brown sugar + dried blue berries, etc.) but things consipired against me.  But just think about it.  If you do one loaf, you can have 3 or 4 rollings going into one loaf.  Each one of those rollings gives you the opportunity to leave it as is – just beautifully light fluffy bread – OR put in a filling.  I leave it to your imagination.
Cover and let rise for about 40 minutes, until about 4/5  the height of the bread pan.

Baked in Pullman pan lid off

Baked in Pullman pan lid off

Bake in a 175 degree C/ 350 degree F oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the loaf from the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Pullman pan with & without lid took 40 minutes.

Baked in Pullman Pan lid on, this is the side. I love those snails swirling.

Baked in Pullman Pan lid on, this is the side. I love those snails swirling.

I baked it with the lid on first and we loved the bread.

Served it one night with  a French Cassoulet.  Delightfully tight but light and fluffy crumb.

Served it one night with a French Cassoulet. Delightfully tight but light and fluffy crumb.

But it made me wonder what the crumb would be like if I baked without the lid.

Maybe the crumb was slightly more open baked with the lid off but it wasn't a great difference.

Maybe the crumb was slightly more open baked with the lid off but it wasn’t a great difference.

What did you say?  Well, of course you want a slice … oh well, yes a loaf would be better.  That’s a great idea.  Just get in that kitchen and bake it!  Then pop over to Karen’s Kitchen and get the details on how to be a Bread Baking Buddy this month.

This is lovely bread.  You’ll want to check out all the Babes baking this month, we are a most creative bunch.

BBB logo July 2015


BBB ~ Power Bread

Is “I’m on the road, over the water and now in Paris” a reason for posting late when I baked the bread two weeks ago for being late? No you say! Well, it’s the only one I’ve got. As much as we enjoyed this bread Judy (Gross Eats) I must make this short and sweet as tomorrow morning we are off onto a new adventure.
BBB logo July 2015
Judy, our new Babe, jumped right in an took the first available open slot for Kitchen of the Month. A bread book that had gotten my attention and Judy’s.  I’ve baked the Brioche, all whole wheat healthy … well butter is healthy too, yes.   Judy looked at several breads before settling on POWER BREAD. It is packed with goodness, health and flavor. Great flavor and an “oh, it’s it ready to come out of the oven YET!” aroma. Then. “NO, you can’t cut it until it’s cooled.” wait.

Let us be clear here. This takes 3 (ok 4 if you don’t read well). BUT, day one and two take a total of maybe 20 minutes. Why did it take me four days, because realized the third day when I went to mix the biga, I should/could have made it the second day with the soaker in seperate bowls, it didn’t need separate days. Reading, yes, that would be a good thing to do. When I worked in the hospital and went into child’s room to give a pill, even an aspirin, there was a check list to go through ~ right name, right medicine, right dose, right time ~ I should do that with each ingredient in a recipe list … I added yeast in the honey amount in grams … yes I did. But, in the hospital it really mattered that I follow that check list … this bread, ha, not so much. Maybe it needed that extra boost in my kitchen.

No, I didn’t add extra flax seed. The recipe supplied all I needed in this one.

Power Bread

Judy(Gross Eats) from Peter Reinhart’s “Whole Grain Breads”

71 g raisins
14 g flaxseeds
170 g water
All of pre-soaker
170 g whole wheat
14 g oat bran
4 g salt
170 g  white whole wheat flour
1 g instant yeast
142 g buttermilk, at room temp
Final dough
All of soaker (at room temp)
All of biga (at room temp)
56.5 g sunflower seeds, ground into a flour
56.5 g white whole wheat flour
28.5 g sesame seeds, whole
4 g salt
7 g instant yeast  plus in my case
21 g agave syrup

The pumpkin seeds were beautiful on top.

The pumpkin seeds were beautiful on top.


Day One: Pre-soaker
Mix all pre-soaker ingredients together in a small bowl, cover, and let sit at room temp for 8-24 hours.

Day Two: Soaker
Puree the pre-soaker in a blender, and mix with the remaining soaker ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir for about a minute, until everything is thoroughly combined and it forms a ball. Cover the bowl and leave at room temp for 12-24 hours (or, refrigerate it for up to 3 days, but let sit at room temp for 2 hours before mixing the final dough). Go ahead and make the biga now.

Day Two: Biga
Mix all of the biga ingredients together in a large bowl. Wet your hands, and knead for 2 min. Then let it rest for 5 min and knead again for 1 min. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 8 hours to 3 days. Two hours before you’re ready to mix the final dough, let the biga sit at room temp for 2 hours.

Day Three: Final dough
Cut the soaker and the biga into 12 pieces each. Grind the sunflower seeds into flour in a blender, food processor, or spice grinder (gently pulse or it will turn into sunflower seed butter, not flour).
Mix ground seeds with remaining ingredients, including the soaker and biga pieces.
Knead the mixture with wet hands for 2 min, or until everything is thoroughly mixed. Dough should be slightly sticky; if it’s very tacky, add more flour; if it’s very dry and not sticky, add more water.

(If using a stand mixer, put the pre-dough pieces and all of the other ingredients except the extra flour into the mixer with the paddle attachment or dough hook. Mix on slow speed for 1 minute to bring the ingredients together into a ball. Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium-low speed, occasionally scraping down the bowl, for 2-3 minutes, until the pre-doughs become cohesive and combined. Add more flour or water as needed until the dough is soft and slightly sticky.)

Dust your counter (or whatever you’re using) with flour, and roll the dough around in it.
Knead it for 3-4 min. Let the dough rest for 5 min, and then knead for another minute. At this point your dough should pass the windowpane test. If not, knead more until it can pass the test.

Then form your dough into a ball, place it into a lightly oiled bowl, roll it around in the oil, and let it sit covered at room temp for 45-60 min (until it’s about 1.5 times its original size).

Lightly flour your counter again, and form your dough into either a loaf shape or rolls. Put the loaf-shaped dough into a lightly oiled 8.5″ x 4″ loaf pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let it sit at room temp for 45-60 min (until it’s 1.5 times its original size). Or, if making rolls, place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a silicon mat. I want to make this as rolls

Preheat the oven and a steam pan (an empty metal pan on the bottom oven rack) to 425°. Put bread in the oven, pour 1 cup hot water into steam pan, and reduce oven temp to 350°. Bake for 20 min. Then remove steam pan, rotate bread 180°, and bake for another 20-30 min, or until loaf or rolls are brown, have an internal temp of at least 195°, and have a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Remove the bread from the pan and let cool completely (at least 1 hour) before serving.


Want to be a Bread Baking Buddy and bake along with us! Oh please do, I think you’ll be pleased.  Check Judy’s post for all the details and go for it.

All the Babe’s posting this Bread:

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BBB ~ Flaxseed and Plum Ciabatti-Style Loaves

Well, not exactly … no plums or prunes here but there were gorgeous dried black olives.  Perfect for wine and cheese!  Really this was astronomically wonderful.

Maybe not the world's most beautiful to look at but fabulous in the mouth!

Maybe not the world’s most beautiful to look at but fabulous in the mouth!

Cathy posting at Bread Experience is our hosting Kitchen of the Month with a recipe from the San Francisco Baking Institute.   I love this flaxseed soaker.  The whole flax seeds come through in the baked bread soft enough to give the bread a slight crunch between the teeth.  I believe the softening of the flax seeds would make them as digestible as ground flax meal.   While I’m in love with this bread made with the dried olives, I know there are innumerable combinations of fruits, nuts and olives that would create fabulous combinations.  Next time we have company, I’m making this with apricots and walnuts or with figs and walnuts.

Flaxseed and Plum Ciabatti-Style Loaves

Flaxseed soaker:

48 grams flax seeds

72 grams water

Mix all ingredients until well incorporated, cover and set aside. Let it sit for at least one hour.


125 grams bread flour

125 grams water

pinch of instant yeast

Mix all ingredients until well incorporated with D.D.T. of 70°F. Allow to ferment 12 – 14 hours at room temperature (65 -70°F)

Final Dough:

300 grams unbleached all-purpose flour, 1/2 white whole wheat

50 grams coarsely milled whole wheat flour

25 grams coarsely milled whole rye flour

278 grams water

10 grams salt

84 grams prunes, used dried black olives

2 grams instant yeast, 1/2 teaspoon

Directions: Hand Mix Mix together all the ingredients except the flax seeds, and plums. Once everything is thoroughly incorporated, mix in flax soaker and dried plums. Transfer the dough into an oiled container. Dough Temperature: 76-78°F First Fermentation: a total of 3 hours with 3 folds 45 minutes at room temperature; fold 45 minutes at room temperature; fold 45 minutes at room temperature; fold Divide: I made two loaves.  I placed the shaped dough on ovals of parchment paper.

Parchment paper on the right is darker because I'd used it for baking biscuits earlier.

Parchment paper on the right is darker because I’d used it for baking biscuits earlier.

Rest : 20 minutes at room temperature

Bake:  450°F with 2 seconds of steam. Bake for 20 minutes. Vent an additional 10 minutes. (directions for a deck oven ~ my dream).
Bake:  Preheated 450° oven with baking stone.
Slide ovals of parchment paper onto a preheated baking stone.  I used a preheated cast iron casserole pan and poured ice water into it when the bread went into the oven.  I baked for 15 minutes at 450°; turned the loaves and continued baking another 15 minutes at 430° convection.
So tempting to slice but the amount of whole grains told me I needed to allow this to really cool.

So tempting to slice but the amount of whole grains told me I needed to allow this to really cool.

We almost had gone through both these loaves before I caught the all important crumb shot.
Oh my it just occurs to me that figs would be wonderful in this bread.

Oh my it just occurs to me that figs would be wonderful in this bread.

I really encourage you bake this one.  Go fruit or olive or something none of use has thought of but bake it you should. As always, Cathy will have the round-up of Buddies at the end of the month.  Don’t know how to be a buddy and earn a buddy badge (more important have a great loaf)?  Check out her post.  Check out all the other Babes baking this month, list is on the right side bar.

Thank you immensely for this one Cathy. This is going to often be on our evening cheese plate with wine.

"Almost an Easter Egg"


BBB Romanian Easter Bread ~ Babes go with Braids!

Our kitchen of the month is Pat from Feeding My Enthusiasms.  I never get excited about sweet but being a Babe, I do have to bake and for sure I try my best to bake the monthly Babe bread.

I measured all the ingredients well before Easter … melted butter and milk went back into the fridge as life started coming at me like the steam engine it is and it was fully 10 days later before I got back to this.  Talk about quilt looking at your kitchen counter.  Sweet just isn’t a big motivator for me. I love chocolate but go for the really good dark stuff.  Sweet is nice from time to time but it’s usually salt I crave.
Once I started the mixing of this dough, it was like the heavens were welcoming me in: the dough was silky and easy; the kneading soothing and relaxing; the aroma of cinnamon baking from the oven … all was right with the world.
After his first slice, Gorn’s comment was: I’d really like another slice but I’m not sure I can manage it … he did.  The bread is that good.  Even for me, it is that good.  So good I enjoyed it for toast two breakfasts in a row.

Romanian Easter Braid

"Almost an Easter Egg"

“Almost an Easter Egg”

Recipe By: Pat “Feeding My Enthusiasms” adaptation from The Festive Bread Book, by Kathy Cutler
Yield: 1 large braid loaf

3 1/2 – 4 cup flour, divided: 1/2 King Arthur white whole wheat and 1/2 King Arthur sprouted wheat
1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast
30  grams yellow ground flax meal
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest (or use orange zest), used zest of one lemon
2/3 cup milk, used half & half
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar, used brown
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
Filling:, I doubled the filling.
1/3 cup water, used lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup finely ground almonds (or walnuts, poppy seeds, etc)
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest (or use orange zest), used zest of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons milk

1. Combine 2 cups flour , the yeast, and lemon zest in mixing bowl.

Heat milk, butter, sugar and salt until butter melts; remove from heat and let cool until it reaches 105 – 115 degrees F.

Add milk mixture and eggs to dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly.

Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.   I used about 3 1/2 cups total.

Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth – about 10 minutes.  This became a very soft and smooth easy dough in about 5 minutes.

2. Place in greased bowl, turning to coat top. Cover; let rise in warm place until double – about 1 hour. My kitchen was very cool (62°) and took 3 hours.

3. Punch down dough. Divide dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll each into a 7 x 16-inch rectangle.

I did double the nuts and sugar! Forgot an extra touch of cinnamon ~ my bad. Absolutely DO DOUBLE the filling.

I did double the nuts and sugar! Forgot an extra touch of cinnamon ~ my bad.
Absolutely DO DOUBLE the filling.

Use 1/3 of filling one each rectangle, spreading filling, but leaving a margin around edges; roll up jelly-roll style. Seal seam and ends. You will have three filled and sealed ropes.

Braid ropes; place on greased baking sheet.

Before rising.

Before rising.

Cover; let rise in warm place until double – about 30 minutes.

4. Make glaze and brush on loaf.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 40 minutes or until done.  NOW, a word of caution.  Pat’s directions say to bake this on a baking sheet I believe.  As you can see from above I put mine on parchment and slid it onto the hot baking stone in the oven.  I got a wonderful oven spring … but I also got a great out pouring of brown sugar melt.  I have a small Breville Convection table oven.  I really is a marvel BUT it really is small.  One normal rise sandwich loaf is the capacity and only then on the lower rack.  This braid fit in the middle but it did melt sugar all over the stone and a little onto the bottom of the oven.  I was astonished that just running hot water over the stone and the slide out oven bottom easily rinsed away the sugar.

Cool on wire rack.  Do let it cool.  Melted sugar is too hot for the tongue.

"The Crumb"

“The Crumb”

It is so good.  Don’t wait for next Easter.  This is just great for a special Brunch or nice breakfast any day.  Become a Bread Baking Buddy ~ don’t you know the drill by now?  ;-)  Bake the bread, send your e-mail to Pat with BBB Buddy Easter Bread in the subject line along with link to your web site or FaceBook link and you’ll get a buddy badge and be in the month’s round up post!

Easter colors.

Easter colors.

I think I can guarantee you are going to love this one.

And now for something completely different … a rant … why am I late.  For whatever reason my IP blocked my posting to WordPress on my laptop.  No idea.  So we drove into town (30miles) to the library where everything works like greased lightening.  Enjoy all those cliches.


Buddies Play in the BBB SandBox ~ Granary Style Loaf

If there is one thing Buddies and Babes have in spades, it’s free thinking creativity. If essay exams had only been like this in college, life would have been grand and fun. Probably we’d have come away knowing a lot more as well.

I feel like it’s more difficult to get many bread bakers interested in whole wheat/whole grain bread. Many of us were raised on that white stuff (I call library paste) and that’s what we’re happy to bake and see on our plates. Whole wheat/whole grain is more challenge having less gluten and the potential to taste bitter or funny or just not regular. For that reason, I am doubly pleased with Babes and Buddies who took up this challenge.

These are not in any special order because each really stands alone in it’s own special way.  That’s really how essay exams and SandBox play should be.

Granary Loaf was Judy’s first loaf in her new home, a christening of sorts she called it … I call it a spectacular loaf, just look at that marvelous crust.


Judy's Gross Eats

Judy’s Gross Eats

We got a great crumb shot from Karen who considers herself the “champion ingredient collector” but didn’t have any malted wheat flakes in her pantry. I really like the sound of that “champion ingredient collector” … I wonder how many of us feel that way … perhaps it would be better to ask how many of our partners consider each of us the “champion ingredient collector”.

Karen's Kitchen Stories

Karen’s Kitchen Stories


One of our most faithful Buddies Carola of course came through again after welcoming Tom Cruise into her pantry with a … globe continents and seas … well maybe I don’t have all those facts straight and you should check it out for yourself.

Sweet and That's It

Sweet and That’s It

For the crowning Crumb (and actually the first to bake in) and lovely bouquet! I would love to find some sprouted oat like Kelly did.  Her loaf rose gorgeously well, has a wonderful looking crumb and her son gave it thumbs up which is an A+ in my book.

A Messy Kitchen

A Messy Kitchen

Apologies for my tardy posting. I really was greatly needed by a friend in dire need.

Thank you all for baking once again with us and playing so well in the SandBox!

BBBuddy badge march 15



BBB Granary Style Loaf

As Kitchen of the Month I welcome you to the BBB Sandbox for Granary Loaf.

I always dreaded those essay exams at university and in graduate school. Gad, you really had to know your stuff.  Written was awful: you had to know it, organize it in your head and get in down on paper. Then in graduate school you had to be able to write it AND talk it.  Now, contrast that with how things work in the sandbox.  In our sandbox, the kids (that would be the BBBs and now you) all come together to “play”.  When kids play in a sandbox, they have fun, they experiment and they learn.  That learning can some times move into unexpected areas.
How did I come across Granary Bread?  A friend in Seattle showed me a bread book she’d gotten for Christmas and I came across Granary Bread.   I looked at several recipes for Granary Bread on the internet and settled on a trusted source, King Arthur.  But this bread sandbox is not so much about the recipe as about playing with a concept with creativity, independence all the while sharing and inciting discovery … even if that discovery takes us into the past where we learn again: there really is very little new under the sun.

In the Granary Loaf, I felt I’d found a classic, simple, conservative recipe with a potentially unobtainable ingredient for most of us: Granary flour is a proprietary blend not available unless you are in England or order it from them. Since we can’t get that special blend, that would require us to play together and come up with ideas that would allow us to create a Granary Style Loaf.
Along the way I explored barley extract, malting process (requires sprouting and drying the grain), malt (diastatic and non) and baking undercover.  I don’t feel comfortable putting up all that I scanned from Elizabeth David’s book but if you are interested I can e-mail you some copy  if you don’t have the book and would like to read some of it.  King Arthur is an excellent source to read up on malt extract as well.

When I started playing in this sandbox, I figured I would not be able to find the proprietary flour the Brit’s have.  I was thinking whole grain flours.  Sprouted would be a plus.  Toasting whatever “wheat flakes” would add some extra flavor in the neighborhood of malted.  I think if wheat flakes can’t be found, I’d try oatmeal.  Think whole grain and malty undertones.


Almost immediately Heather came up with “I just ordered the flour from Amazon.”  Then I had to too … but coming from across the pond gave it a delivery date of March 12 … unless you were willing to pay some $70 to expedite delivery!

The only change I made here is using potato water and adding the ground flax meal.

The only change I made here is using potato water and adding the ground flax meal.

Mine came on the 12th and I baked using it on the 13.  I followed the directions on the label substituting only potato water for the water and adding in 30 grams of flax meal.  The Hovis flour was my second play in the SandBox.

Made with the Hovis Granary Flour.

Made with the Hovis Granary Flour.

Use your imagination.  Remember when you were little and made mud pies.  We’re playing around here.

Update Sunday night 15 March: King Arthur has what looks like a sort of updated/more recent Granary style loaf called Malted Wheat Flake Bread that I’m going to be starting tonight.  I very much like that it soaks grains overnight.

Authentic is not the goal, good tasty bread is. I leave it to you: loaf or rolls.

Just so not to leave you hanging, Elizabeth David in her “English Bread and Yeast Cookery” was writing about “baking bread undercover” in 1977.  She had “discovered” the idea from talking with and reading baker’s from the 1920’s.  Now, what does “baking undercover” make you think of?  Well, it makes me think about the first time I came across it was when Karen & I turned up baking (after midnight) the New York Times recipe put up by Mark Bittman from Jim Lahey in 2006.  Cast iron pot heated very hot and a lid put on it.  I thought that was revolutionary.  Turns out, not really that new under this sun.

Granary-Style Loaf

This is a bread beloved by the British. King Arthur calls it “granary-style” loaf because Granary Flour is a proprietary brand sold by a specific company in England.  A full-flavored bread with a hint of sweetness and a bit of crunch.
Recipe from King Arthur
Yield: 2 loaves
2 cups lukewarm water
1 to 2 tablespoons barley malt extract
1 cup malted wheat flakes
2 cups King Arthur 100% White Whole Wheat Flour
1 scant tablespoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
3 to 4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose or Unbleached Special Bread Flour*
Flavor and texture come from those malted wheat flakes!

Flavor and texture come from those malted wheat flakes!

1. Pour the 2 cups of water into a mixing bowl. Stir in the barley malt, wheat flakes and white wheat flour. Mix in the yeast, and allow this sponge to work for 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Stir in the butter or oil, salt, and about 2 1/2 cups of the all-purpose or bread flour. Add flour slowly until you have a shaggy mass hat begins to hold together and pull away from the sides of the bowl.
*You’ll use less flour if you use Special(meaning bread flour) instead of all-purpose, due to its higher absorption capacity.”

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured or lightly greased work surface, and knead until it’s cohesive. Give it a rest while you clean out and lightly oil your bowl. Continue kneading for several minutes, adding only enough flour (or oil) to keep the dough from sticking to you or the work surface.

4. Return the dough to the bowl, turning to coat all sides, cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap, and let the dough rise until it’s double din bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. Gently deflate the dough, cut it in half, and shape each half into a log. Place the logs in two lightly greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch bread pans. Allow the loaves to rise, covered, until they’re about three-quarters of the way to doubled.

5. Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf registers 190°F. Remove the bread from the oven, remove it from the pans, and transfer it to a wire rack to cool.


First Sand Box Play:
I cut the recipe in half because I wanted to bake again soon with different ingredients.
1 c water (260 g)
1 T barley malt extract became 8 grams brown sugar
1/2 c malted wheat flakes (from King Arthur)
30 grams golden flax meal
1 c white whole wheat became 75 grams sprouted wheat and 75 grams white whole whole
1/2 T yeast
1 T butter
1/2 t salt used 2 grams
150 grams bread flour
used about 1/3 cup more bread flour kneading

Mixed water, br sugar, wheat flakes, white whole wheat and sprouted wheat; allowed to sit 1 hour
Whisked yeast, salt, flax meal and bread flour.
And baked following KA recipe.

Gorn & I both found these two loaves to be excellent.  Good as toast; great for a sandwich. A background whisper of malt … sweetness … but just right.  The Hovis Granary flour made an excellent loaf but I think there was not a substantial difference from the King Arthur recipe when I baked the two.

I do hope you’ll want to play in the sandbox with us, maybe you will find something new under the sun that we’ve missed.

***  To be a bread baking buddy, post your bread (on your blog, on our FaceBook group, or send me a photo and comment on the bread).  In order to receive a BBBuddy Badge and appear in my round-up post at the end of this month you MUST e-mail me at comments my kitchen at mac dot com – you know no spaces and the @ sign – AND use BBB or SandBox on the subject line.

It’s not a fancy shape, just super good bread. BBB logo March 2015 See you in the SandBox!