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

Do not forget the oats!


Muesli Rolls ~ BBB

Muesli Rolls ~ BBB

Butter don't forget butter ... cheese was good as well.

Butter don’t forget butter … cheese was good as well.

Our Kitchen of the Month … Karen: Bake My Day and boy did she ever.

Karen found this recipe in Global Baker by Dean Brettschneider

As the baker says: a real breakfast roll for champions, full of seeds, dried fruits and chocolate. They are great fresh, or toasted the next day and the day after.

Karen said to try them with Swiss Emmenthal cheese, perfect partners! but we ran out of rolls before I could get any Emmenthaler.

These rolls may not have transformed us into Champions but they certainly brought joy to the table each time I served them; really that’s saying quite something don’t you think.

I believe if you follow the proportions of bread flour to whole wheat, you’ll get a reasonably light roll.  If on the other hand you are in a whole grain phase as I am and chose to cut the bread flour by half (using 250 grams bread flour instead of the 500 grams) and doing some strange numerical calculation like I did and use 250 grams white whole wheat flour (not the 50 grams of whole wheat called from in the recipe), you’ll take out a delightfully wonderful tight crumbed roll like I did.

Another word on the differences in flours and water or as Karen said: “what’s in a name, that what we call flour by any other name would bake as sweet….” provided that you add enough water that is.”  In all the years our little group has been baking together, the one lesson we all seem to have to learn over and over is flour on the other side of the pond is different.  When Karen, our kitchen of the month who happens to bake in the Netherlands, said this recipe worked perfectly for her that should have set off a warning bell to us on the other side to add a little more water.  I can’t tell you how much more water … just more.

So if you follow the directions exactly as Karen has them posted on her site and you’re using flour from the North American side of the pond, add a little extra water.  If you are so lucky as to have some potato water (and not like me watch it go down the drain and yell “NO wait, come back! I need that!”) or whey from a little cheese making as Elizabeth suggested, replace some or all of the water with it, I know you won’t be disappointed.

Muesli Rolls ~ BBB ~ 15 rolls

250 grams  strong bread flour, (Original:  500 grams)

250 grams wholemeal or whole wheat flour, (Original: 50 grams)

40 grams jumbo rolled oats

2 3/4 teaspoons gr  (2.3/4 tsp) instant dry yeast

10 gr (2 tsp) salt

20 grams blackstrap molasses

20 grams honey

20 ml olive oil

370 ml water (next time 390-400)

60 grams gr (scant 1/2 cup) walnut pieces (chopped small)

30 grams gr (3 Tbs) linseeds/flaxseeds, soaked in liquid

20 grams gr (2.1/4 Tbs) sesame seeds

80 grams gr (1/2 cup) sunflower seeds

80 grams gr (2/3 cup) pumpkin seeds

90 grams gr (1/4 cup) dried apricuts, cut into pieces

60 grams gr (1/2 cup) small chocolate chips/drops (optional: used 40 grams)

100 grams gr (1 generous cup) jumbo rolled oats to decorate

1. Place flours, oats, yeast, salt and wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Using a wooden spoon, combine to form a dough.  Tip dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 15 minutes, resting it for 1 minute every 2-3 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Check dough throughout kneading for stickiness; add a little more water or flour if necessary to achieve a soft dough that’s not too firm.

I did, I added mini-chocolate chips ... just not all the recipe called for.

I did, I added mini-chocolate chips … just not all the recipe called for.

2. Add walnuts, seeds, dried fruit and chocolate(if desired). Knead until well incorporated and combined into dough.

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Have faith, keep kneading, it will all come together!

Place dough in  a lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm (plastic wrap) and leave in a warm place for approximately  1 1/2, until dough has doubled in size. Gently knock back dough in bowl by folding it back onto itself several times. Cover again and leave for a further 30 minutes.

Squares ... that's really easy!

Squares … that’s really easy!

3. Tip dough upside down onto a lightly floured work surface.  Sprinkle flour over top of dough (which was on the bottom of the bowl).  Very carefully turn dough over and gently flatten to 2cm (3/4 in) thick.  Using a dough scarper or large chef’s knife, cut dough into 7cm (2 3/4in) squares.  Using a pastry brush, brush the tops with water.  Sprinkle entire surface of each roll with rolled oats, and pat down gently to stick them on.

4. Line a baking tray (cookie sheet) with baking (parchment) paper.  Place rolls onto lined tray (sheet), leaving a 2-3cm (3/4-11/4in) gap between each roll.  Cover (I always use a shower cap) and leave to prove for 30-45 minutes, depending on room temperature.

5. Place rolls on baking tray (cookie sheet) in a preheated 230C/450F/Gas 8 oven, apply steam and quickly close oven door.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning tray around halfway through baking if needed Remove rolls from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

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Gorn’s comment: I know I’m going to regret this but I can’t stop eating them.  At that point I swiftly packed them up and put them out of sight.  Reports from the other Babes are these are knock their socks off GREAT!

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We enjoyed these for breakfast several mornings, with soup in the evening twice and at least once in the afternoon with some lovely Earl Grey.  They keep wonderfully well in the fridge and then toasted.

Would you like to be a Bread Baking Buddy?

Karen is host kitchen this month and would love to see you baking with us. However… she was so clever to register for KOM in June ánd go on a vacation somewhere around that time. So luckily there is Lien to the rescue!! Lien (from Notitie Van Lien fame) will also be ready to receive your submission ánd send you your Buddy Badge!


Here’s how:

Just make the rolls, then email your link (or email your photo and a bit about your experience if you don’t have a blog) to BOTH  bakemyday {at} gmail {dot} com AND to notitievanlien(at)gmail(punt)com add subject BBBuddy

Submissions are due by July 1st.  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, or in this case…. as soon as Karen is home again and the laundry done.
The Bread Baking Babes are:

Hey pssst: have you seen them? We added a couple of new Babes…. and yes they scare us. Just a bit. We now have Karen from Karen’s Kitchen Stories  And we have Judy! Judy blogs at Judy’s gross eats and she has volunteered to be Kitchen of the Month next month! (we would never pressure. Babes just volunteer. by themselves. sure.) 


And the Babes posting Muesli Rolls are:

"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.



BBB ~ Kouign Amann

BBB logo February 2015

… and the crowd goes wild to celebrate our 7th Anniversary.

Kouign Amann


So wild, I’ve been threatened with being chained to the oven until I bake them again.  Chained to the oven … no wilder than 7 years of Bread Baking Babes!  Beautiful bread baking Babes, thank you all.

Lien is once again our KOM (Kitchen of the Month).  I am once again blown away by a bread I would never have picked: it looks intimidating (that wow factor is very high with this one) and it’s sweet, something I just almost never volunteer for.  But, I am totally won over by this one and will probably be making it again…like on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Kouign Amann
from Lien by Paul Hollywood – BBC “The Great British Bake Off
Yield: 12 – 16 pastries
300 grams strong plain flour: I used half bread flour & half white whole wheat , plus extra for dusting
5 grams fast-action yeast: I used reg instant
1 teaspoon salt
200 ml warm water
25 grams unsalted butter, melted
250 grams cold unsalted butter, in a block
100 grams caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1.  Put the flour into the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt to the other. Add the water and melted butter and mix on a slow speed for two minutes, then on a medium speed for six minutes.
***Not sure why, but I actually used the kitchen aid for this one.
I’ll probably do it by hand next time. This is a really lovely satiny like dough, easy to knead.  I see no reason this would be difficult without a stand mixer.
2. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and shape into a ball. Put into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with cling film and leave to rise for one hour.
***I figured this is all about butter so took a small pat of butter and rubbed it into my palms and then onto dough ball.
Here I go again. I wanted to get this started but knew I’d have a long wait time before starting the laminating process SO it went into the fridge at this point. Slowly rising about 3 hours before I got back to it.
Next time I will be using salted butter.
3. Sandwich the butter between two sheets of grease proof paper and bash with a rolling pin, then roll out to a 14 cm square. Place in the fridge to keep chilled.***I just used parchment paper.
4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 20 cm square. Place the butter in the centre of the dough diagonally, so that each side of butter faces a corner of the dough. Fold the corners of the dough over the butter to enclose like an envelope.
5. Roll the dough into a 45×15 cm rectangle. Fold the bottom third of dough up over the middle, then fold the top third of the dough over. You will now have a sandwich of three layers of butter and three layers of dough. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes. This completes one turn.
***Do not feel you need to be exact at 30 minutes. It’s chilling in the fridge, up to another 30 minutes (an hour total) it’s going to be fine.  If the dough resists rolling, extra time will allow it to relax and making the rolling out easier anyway.
6. Repeat this process twice more, so you have completed a total of three turns, chilling the dough for 30 minutes between turns.
***Do allow a full 30 minutes between turns.
I’ll be very tempted to do an extra sprinkling on this third turn, lighter than the next. The limiting factor might be it will cause the butter to break through.  I did not have any difficulty with the butter popping through the dough.  I’m thinking regular brown sugar would be lovely here and may give that a go next bake.IMG_7970

7. Roll the dough into a rectangle as before. Sprinkle the dough with the caster sugar and  fold into thirds again. Working quickly, roll the dough into a large 40×30 cm rectangle. Sprinkle the dough with caster sugar and cut the dough into 12 squares.

***My math/division skills can be limited some days more than others.  Twelve evaded me. I cut it into 16 pieces. Actually, that was probably idea for how many people were putting these into their mouths. As it turned out, I only got one because I snuck off with it first thing. I’ll do 16 again. I will however try for more square shape than the rectangle I ended up with on most.

I don’t believe I used the measured amount of sugar. I just tried to cover the rectangle and rolled the sugar in so that it stuck in the dough.


8. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin well with oil. Gather the dough squares up by their four corners and place in the muffin tins, pulling the four corners towards the centre of the muffin tin, so that it gathers up like a four-leaf clover. Sprinkle with caster sugar and leave to rise, covered with a clean tea towel, for 30 minutes until slightly puffed up.

***I used butter in the pan.


9. Preheat oven to 220ºC.
Bake the pastries for 30-40 minutes, or until golden-brown.
Cover with foil halfway through if beginning to brown too much.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a couple of minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
Be careful not to burn yourself on the caramelised sugar, but don’t leave them to cool for too long, or the caramelised sugar will harden and they will be stuck in the tin. Serve warm or cold

Mine took 32 minute in regular bake (no convection) oven at 405°F .
Watch these. Almost exactly at the 15 minute mark I covered these with foil or they would have been black. As it was the color came out gorgeous.
I had absolutely no difficulty removing these from the pan.


10. Serve warm or cold. Warm is best!
***Warm, you really want them warm. You really want that flaky crunch!

11. If you don’t want to eat them all in want go (of just if you want to, but shouldn’t), bag and freeze them. Before you eat them: Defrost them and place them in a warm oven (180ºC) for about 4-6 minutes or until warm, they will crisp up again.
***I didn’t see this the first time I baked them.  Believe me I will be trying this.



2 1/2  hours preparation time (mostly resting in the fridge time)
30 mins to 1 hour cooking time

We have France to thank for these caramelised buttery, sugary parcels. Lien’s been an internet sleuth and has more on how these came about.  The are perfect with a café au lait. Equipment and preparation: for this recipe you will need a 12-cup muffin tin and a freestanding mixer fitted with a dough hook.  (Personally I don’t think that dough hook is necessary but haven’t done it without yet.)

If you don’t want to eat them all in one go (or just if you want to, but shouldn’t), bag and freeze them. Before you eat them: Defrost them and place them in a warm oven (180ºC) for about 4-6 minutes or until warm, they will crisp up again.
I know the crumb shot is woefully lacking but I was lucky to get even that considering how fast these went.  Lien does have the perfect crumb shot!
You simply must bake these. Chain yourself to the oven door until you do. Bake, write, post and let us know how it worked out. Send your info + picture to the Kitchen of the month (that’s Lein this time, so send it to: notitievanlien(at)gmail(dot)com, add subject BBBuddy). Deadline 1 March.
Become our Bread Baking Buddy, you’ll get a BBBuddy Badge for your entry (you can add that too your post if you want) and will be added to the Buddy round up later.  Mine may look good but Lien’s are gorgeous!   I mean BAKE these. You’ll be hooked for life!


Whole-Wheat Sunflower Seed Rye Bread

I know it’s hard to believe but this is not for the Babe’s, not an early BBB bread at all.  I hope that’s not too disappointing.  I will tell you I did the Babe bread for this month and did squeal and even jig a little dance – sorry Ilva.  It’s really very good, very fun and even though the thought made me shake in my boots, it was very easy .
I saw this first on David Lebovitz’s blog and was of course over awed by the look and sound. Do you ever buy a cookbook because of one recipe?  How many cookbooks have you bought without at least thumbing through the actually book or looking at a sample as an e-book.  I may have hesitated five minutes before hitting the buy button on Amazon … I may not have.  At any rate, the book is now in my library.
Now that I’ve read it cover to cover, I’m delighted and have considerably more than the one recipe that I’m over joyed with.
The bread is milder than I expected but still has a lovely rye aroma and flavor.  It’s a dense bread and so is perfect to slice thin and serve with appetizers.  I may try it next with a little caraway and when I unpack that special loaf pan to bake cocktail rye in, I’ll be trying that. Until I find that pan, wonderful with just butter and with every cheese we put on it last night.  We’ve planned to have it toasted with an egg some morning before it’s all gone. I’m right with David on the avocado and strangely enough there is one waiting on my counter … it won’t be waiting long.

Below you will find first my measure, second David Lebovitz’s measurement in parenthesis found on his blog, and finally Hans Rockenwagner’s measurement.  You can note that my grams and David’s are fairly different.  In comparing photo’s of each, it seems like the measurements worked about the same in the final bread.  Flour is a dramatically different entity around this globe.   I was baking from the book where Hans uses cups. When I use a recipe written in cups any more, I do the measurement, weight it in grams (and yes I know liquids are measured in ml, I just do it in grams and it works for me) and write in in the book or into my MacGourmet program. Next time I just scale things.

Whole-Wheat Sunflower Seed Rye Bread

Recipe By: Das Cookbook by Hans Röckenwagner
Yield: one loaf


my measure    David Lebovitz’s measurement,     Hans Rockenwagner’s measurement
400 grams (375ml) lukewarm water, 1 1/2 cups (12 oz)
1/4 cup (80g)  honey, 1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon ( I used agava syrup)
2 1/4 teaspoons (one package) active dry yeast (not instant)
450 grams (330g) whole-wheat flour, 2 3/4 cups
45 grams flax meal
1 teaspoon King Arthur Rye Bread Improver
155 grams (110g) rye flour (dark or light), 1 cup
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
1 cup (125g) lightly toasted sunflower seeds
Vegetable oil, for greasing the pan – I used butter

1. I deviated from the recipe here and simply added the yeast into the flours.

2. In a separate bowl, mix together the whole wheat and rye flours with the salt. I used a wooden spoon. Stir the 1/4 cup (80g) honey into the flour mixture. If necessary, add an additional bit of flour if the dough is too wet, or another tablespoon of water if the dough is too dry. It should feel soft and moist, and when you touch it, your finger should just barely stick to it.

3. This is a stiff but fairly smooth dough at this point.  I don’t think I kneaded more than about 5 minutes.  I also moistened my hands fairly often by putting one palm in a bowl of water.  I can’t guess how much water this added.

4. Here I deviated from the recipe and covered the dough and placed it in the refrigerator over night.

5. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured countertop and knead in the sunflower seeds thoroughly, making sure that they are evenly dispersed throughout the dough.  Again I moistened one palm in a bowl of water.
Return the dough to the mixer bowl, I covered the bowel with a moist towel and then a shower cap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, took 2 hours.

6. Punch the dough down with your fist, cover, and let rise again until doubled, about 1 hour.

7. Lightly grease a 9-inch (23cm) loaf pan. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured countertop, shape the dough into a elongated rectangle, and place the dough in the pan. Cover and let rise 1 hour. (Note that it won’t rise much.)

8. About 15 minutes before you plan to bake the bread, preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).

I preheated my convection oven to 340°, placed the loaf in the well preheated oven, sprayed the top of the loaf well with the water and then gave the oven a good squirt. I turned the oven up to 350°F for 10 minutes and then back down to 340° for the last hour of baking.


My total baking time was 70 minutes.

9. Storage: The bread will keep for up to 4 days at room temperature. It can be frozen for several months.


My experience with dense whole wheat loaves tells me they are best left to cool to room temperature. It requires a great deal of patience.

Out of the oven at 1:51pm  104.4°;  at 2:45pm 141.1°F;  at 4:50pm  90.1°F;   at 7pm  72.6°F;  at 9pm  66.7°F room temperature.


For the whole wheat flour, I mixed King Arthur whole wheat flour (fairly finely ground) with half Bob’s Red Mill white whole wheat (more coarsely ground).

Of course the flax seed was added by me not the real chefs.


David Lebovitz:  Please note that this bread requires three risings. Fortunately, there isn’t any work to do between those risings. But allow yourself time when you make the bread. I started it the minute I woke up, and it was ready by lunch!


I was thinking that next time, I may swap out a bit of the honey – perhaps 2-3 tablespoons – with mild molasses. Do make sure you toast the sunflower seeds. To do so, preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and spread the seeds on a baking sheet. Baking them, stirring once or twice, for 6 to 8 minutes. Some people like to toast nuts and seeds in a hot skillet on the stovetop, which you can do instead. I tried my own idea of brushing the bread with water and topping it with seeds before baking and most of them didn’t stick. So I didn’t include that suggestion here.

I found this bread even better toasted. It made a nice lunch with ripe, mashed avocado on top, which I mixed with red onion, red pepper powder, a bit of olive oil, and some flaky sea salt.

Two days and we’ll be up with the BBBs  ;-)

Happy Baking!

BBB logo December 2014


Nutella Brioche Flower – Bread Baking Babes Bright Star

Nutella Brioche Flower aka in my house as Chocolate Peanut Butter Brioche Snow Flake

Such an easy bread to make. Such a stunning bread to put in the oven. Such a spectacular bread to take out of the oven.
I mean this is gorgeous visual! even not perfect.


Cathy, Bread Experience, is our Kitchen of the Month and you REALLY want to be a Buddy this month and make yourself a star … or snowflake. Cathy called it a flower. Titled it a flower.  I thought it looked more like a star but then Lien changed my mind when she called it a snow flake.  I say thank you Cathy.

Every month when the Babes bake, Katie rounds the Babes all up. Makes us look great. Many months even though we were given the same recipe, there’s a great variety in the way we look. I’m going to step out on that limb and say I think this month we may have a very similar look to our breads. More alike than usual I think is likely. So far I’ve only seen Cathy’s but I still think we’re going to share in the looks department.
UPDATE: even before I hit publish, an e-mail from flickr just came across my desk, Lien’s is even much more like a star than mine. The limb just broke.
Now, fillings. I’m thinking that’s where we may part ways this months. But, hey, that’s very normal for us. After you and I have checked out all the Babes, we’ll know. You’ll have a great many new ideas for fillings, maybe even come up with one we didn’t.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brioche Snow Flake
Recipe By: Cathy (breadexperience) who
Adapted it from:
Poor Man’s Brioche in Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice
Yield: one round loafFor the sponge:
65 grams bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
134 grams (4 ounces) whole milk, lukewarm (90 to 100 degrees F.)
For the dough:
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
140 grams bread flour, 1 cup
300 grams white whole wheat flour, 2 cups
30 grams flax meal
40 grams sugar – brown
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
116 grams unsalted butter, melted
1-2 teaspoons milk, if necessary to form a smooth dough
For the filling and glaze:
peanut butter
bitter chocolate grated
whole milk
1 tablespoon milk plus 1 tablespoon water for glaze
Icing (confectioner’s) sugar
***** Where ever you see those five stars, that’s me giving you my comments.
I am a real convert to my kitchen scale. When ever I get a recipe written in cups or ounces, I use cups the first time but measure that in grams and write it down. The result is the next time I bake, I’ve got the grams. I don’t usually calculate/convert cups to grams based on any formula. I just do the measure myself then I know if it works or how well it works for me and adjust accordingly.1. To make the dough, add the eggs to the sponge and whisk (or beat on medium speed with the paddle attachment) until smooth.  In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt.  Add this mixture to the sponge and eggs and stir (or continue mixing with the paddle on low-speed for about 2 minutes) until all of the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes to begin to develop the gluten.  Then mix in the melted butter by hand, using a wooden spoon or Danish dough whisk or with the mixer on medium speed using the dough hook. Add in a couple of teaspoons of milk if the dough is too dry.Transfer the dough to the work surface and knead for about 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft and smooth.  It shouldn’t be too sticky to handle.Form the dough into a ball and place it in a clean bowl.  It doesn’t need to be oiled.  The butter should keep the dough from sticking to the bowl.  Let the dough bulk ferment in a warm place (70- 75 degrees F.) for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size.IMG_7588****** When I finally did find the morning to get the sponge mixed, it was fully 7 hours later before there was some signs of life so I added a pinch more yeast and mixed and kneaded nicely silken dough.
I covered it and left it to rise. Several hours later, you are adding these hours now aren’t you, I checked the rise. “I can’t deal with this any more tonight.”
I said a sweet goodnight to my dough ball as I tucked him into the cool overnight.
Next day, the dough ball did not raise to my consciousness until 3PM.2. Meanwhile, cut out a circle of baking or grease proof paper about 30 cm (12″) in diameter. Place the paper on a baking sheet.

To shape the snow flake, once risen, turn the dough out onto a surface, knock it back knead for 3-4 minutes. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and form each piece into a ball.

Roll a ball of dough out into a circle measuring about 25 cm (10″) in diameter. The dough should be about 3-4 mm (1/8″) thick.

Place the dough onto the baking paper and spread on a layer of Nutella, leaving a small gap at the edge. Don’t make the layer too thick but be sure to evenly cover the dough.

Roll out a second ball of dough, place it on the first layer and spread with Nutella. Repeat with the third and fourth balls of dough but do NOT spread Nutella on the final layer.

***** Don’t you just love that “meanwhile” thing. In the meanwhile, I was working like a dog helping Gorn with paper work, worked out at the gym and spent many many hours making gifts for the four grandchildren. Meanwhile, haha. Actually, somewhere in that meanwhile I did cut out a 12 inch circle of parchment.

So, meanwhile I came to that part about the shape the snow flake !! Yes, I watched the video Cathy put up on the website long ago but remembering what I saw was coming up blank. Tom Terrific HughesNet was down … OK how many cuts Cathy?  Read on.


3. Cut the brioche into 16 segments but leave a small (3 cm/1½”) area in the centre of the dough uncut.

Take a pair of adjacent segments. Lift and twist them away from each other through 180°. Lift and twist through 180° again, then twist through 90° so that the ends are vertical. Press the edges together firmly. Repeat this process for all pairs of segments.


***** Fancy that, it says right there in the directions “16 segments”.  Leave an uncut circle area in the middle … I went with the middle size ramekin to act as a guide.


I do remember the video showing a very even nutella spread just short of the edges and the baker timing the dough to a nice clean circle. My chocolate peanut butter was difficult to spread and had a fair amount of unevenness. I might trip the circle next time just to see if more of my edges would stay closed and look neater. But, I don’t think you have to obsess about this part being perfect. It works.


4. Place the brioche in a large plastic bag or cover with lightly oiled film. Leave in a warm place for 1-2 hours to prove.

***** Well, I just covered it with a big bowl.

And I waited 2 and a half hours … finally said phooey, this is coming out of the oven at 10 and I’m going to bed. Be prepared, this is not a fast riser at any stage of the game. It showed most rising in the oven.

5. Brush with the milk glaze then bake at 160°C/320°F fan oven, 180°C/360°F conventional oven for 20-25 minutes.  I baked it at 375 degrees F. for 15 minutes, then turned it down to 350 and baked it another 5 minutes or so.

***** I baked it at 375° F for 15 minutes then at 350°F for another 15 minutes – thinking that the whole wheat flour would take more baking time.

6. Place the bread on a wire rack to cool. Once cooled, dust lightly with icing sugar.

***** I wanted to turn the bread around at 15 minutes knowing that my oven is hot in the back but it was just too awkward as I had used my baking stone and things were just too heavy to move it gracefully. So you’ll see it’s darker on one side than the other.


It was out of the oven by 10PM.

***** Now, my filling. For my birthday last month, I treated myself.

IMG_1310 IMG_1309

***** I treated myself to an 11 pound bar of this chocolate. Holy moly!! This is such good bitter chocolate, I love eating it just like it is. Never done that with another bitter chocolate.
Anyway, the filling: I micro-planed grated a lot (you know like your Nona always measured) and then mixed that with peanut butter. It was dry. I added whole milk. It was dry. I added 2 tablespoons of butter. It was dry. I added more peanut butter – yes chunky.  It was dry. I microwaved it for a minute on 10% power and repeated that about 6 times, stirring in-between times. It got soft and oily. I went with it.

I hope it was good because I gave it to a friend.


So, no crumb shot.

Whether you call it a flower, a star or a snowflake, you really want to make this one. Do it. Pop yourself over to Cathy’s, get the details and tell her what you think. She’ll send you a badge and get you in the round-up at the end of the month. Really it is easy. You can’t get more bang for your kneading than this gorgeous shape. Filling: what can you dream up for us?

I’m thinking Christmas morning and coffee.

Merry Christmas, Be Merry and Bright.


BBB – Beaujolais Bread

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


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.

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



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°.


(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.



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.


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.



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!”

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.
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.
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!


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
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


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.



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.” 


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.


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.


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. 


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


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:

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