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

BBB logo June 2016


Lien’s Bran Bread ~ BBB

BBB Bran Bread ~ 100% Whole Wheat

Recipe From Lien: from the sisters Margherita and Valeria Simili

Yield: 2 loaves or 1 pullman

While this is a tricky bread to explain; it is an easy bread to enjoy.  Lien’s goal with this bread, I think, was a super healthy bread that tasted really good.  I think she succeeded exceedingly well.  There is a lot of bran in this bread and you really never really think “bran” while you’re eating it.
I believe I did a number of very small things wrong that together left me feeling this loaf missed something, missed a spark and yet we both of us kept going for another slice.  The loaf was gone in three days.  This loaf had great texture and very good crust.  I short changed on raisins and nuts, use more next time.  I very often cut down and often eliminate sugar, I think perhaps this was the spark that I missed; use some sweetening next time.

Would I make this again … I’ve got my ingredients ready to mix a starter tonight.

250 grams whole wheat flour
450 grams water
75 grams wheat bran
2 pinches active dry yeast
110 grams whole wheat flour
150 grams whole sprouted wheat flour
20 grams rye flour
160 grams water, used water raisins soaked in

30 grams honey (omited first baking** must add next baking)
2 grams active dry yeast
30 grams butter
9 grams salt
50 grams instant skim milk powder
1 tablespoon diastatic malt flour
75 grams walnuts (next time make at least 100 grams)
75 grams raisins (next time make at least 100 grams)


1. STARTER:  Mix white whole wheat, wheat bran and yeast with water.  Cover and let sit over night.  (Elizabeth used crushed malted rye berries also; I wish I’d had some.Next time: try some rye flour, rye flakes or malted something.)


Starter after the overnight rise.

2. NEXT MORNING: Soak dried fruit in water.  My initial call was to use cranberries but Gorn wanted raisins (98% of the time).  I should have used at least 100 grams of either.  Another time I might use apricots.

Mix starter and all dough ingredients – holding back walnuts and dried fruit.  I used the water I soaked the raisins in – why throw away flavor?

3. KNEAD not really.  I mixed and let it sit about 20 minutes.  I added a little more flour and it still didn’t really knead.  I wasn’t willing to add more flour, in retrospect I probably should have because it never reached kneading consistency.

4. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and press or roll it out flat in a big oval. Add nuts and/or raisins over the dough, fold the dough in two, press or roll out again and sprinkle on the remaining nuts/raisins. Roll the dough (jelly roll style).

5. Heavily butter pullman pan and sprinkle liberally with walnut crumbs.

6. I rolled the dough roll into my pullman pan.  Sprayed the top with water and put the pan cover on sliding it closed short of half an inch.


7. 45 minutes later I had a really nice rise.

8. Preheat your oven to 200ºC (400ºF).
9. Make slashes in the dough (maybe if I’d added more flour).  Check the temperature of the bread (95ºC/200ºF) to be sure it is cooked.
Baked uncovered 50 minutes.  Internal temp at 201 when taken out of oven.
Take the loaves out and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

There is no bitterness in this bread so often associated with all whole wheat breads.  I never felt like I was being made to eat this bread because it was good for me; this is easy eating bread.

Do you see the big smily face upper right?  He’s telling you to get into the kitchen and Bake!
It would be great if you could join this challenge, how much bran can you add to still make good edible bread?  Get your bag of bran, knead, post and let us know how it went. And join us as a Bread Baking Buddy, send your results and what you thought of this to the Kitchen of the Month (that’s Lien this time!) type BBB Brab Bread as subject to notitievanlien(at)gmail(dot) com and you’ll be sent a Bread Baking Buddy Badge that you can add to your blogpost if you like. Deadline the 29th of June. Take on the challenge and let’s bake!
BBBuddy badge feb 2016

1 Comment

Bien Cuit Caramelized Onion Bread Buddies!

Only two buddies for this 8th Anniversary Caramelized Onion Bread but they are both top quality!


I am so happy to celebrate a first time buddy this month – Shirley Flourish.en Test Kitchen.  Here is a true bread head and a fabulous blog.


And I am super happy to celebrate our frequent no blogger, FaceBook friend Louise!  Louise is a quick learner baking bread.

IMG_3928“Thank you for selecting this truly delicious bread from an interesting book. I appreciated the clear instructions for S and F, although the tuck step is one I’ve yet to master.  The combination of caramelized onions and a hint of buckwheat was definitely a winner at our house. I baked mine on parchment on a baking stone, allowing it to crisp directly on the stone once firm. Great bread–I even bought the digital version of the book!”


Louise I also got the digital version of the book as we are traveling now.  It is a most interesting book and I know I’ll be baking from it again soon.


Thanks to you both many times.  It is a most memorable bread.

BBB logo feb 2016


Eight Years ~ BBB Caramelized Onion Bread

Can you believe EIGHT years?  I can not.  Eight years times twelve months equals ninety-six breads!  Even missing a couple, it has been an incredible journey.

I think I felt pretty good about baking bread back then.  I wasn’t a total novice; yeast didn’t bother me any more.  But I realized in the big picture, I’d hardly baked much bread.

Eight years and about ninety breads later plus more than that in-between Babe breads how is it with me?  I still find the mystery in yeast, water and flour ever fascinating and the challenge of bread enthralling.  Shape may always be a fascinating challenge.  I love new techniques but I don’t always push myself to them; I should try harder in that area.  Reading … I love reading with my 8 year old grand son.  I see how we read words without needing to know anything like an exact definition.  I see how we can read and skip big parts of a sentence and how it can then be nonsense and still we push right on.  Read, yes, I see that is often how I read recipes and miss key elements.

When I presented this recipe to the Babes I copied it exactly as it had been written.  I’ve rewritten all but two parts of it below.  I’ve tried to put in “alerts” where one of us missed seeing something.  I’m not saying I wrote it better, I’m saying I tried to change somethings that would allow me to read the recipe better and follow the direction more completely the next time.

Next time: yes this bread is good enough and interesting enough to bake again.  I want to aim for that scoring pattern on the book cover one day.  I hope you like it and want to bake along with us in our journey finding good breads.



Recipe By: Bien Cuit by Zachary Golper, Peter Kaminsky & Thomas Schauer
Yield: 2 medium loaves
Total Time: about 3 days (but most of that is dough resting)


125 grams (3/4 c + 21/2 tbsp) white rye flour (I only had dark rye)
0.3 gram (generous pinch) instant yeast
125 grams (1/2 c + 1 tsp) water at about 60°F (15°C)

425 grams (3 c + 21/2 tsp) white flour, plus additional as needed for working with the dough
75 grams (1/2 c + 11/2 tsp) buckwheat flour

35 grams ground flax seed
15 grams (21/2 tsp) fine sea salt
1 gram (generous 1/4 tsp) instant yeast
350 grams (11/4 c + 31/2 tbsp) water at about 60°F (15°C)
50 grams (21/2 tbsp) honey
25 grams (13/4 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
50 grams (1/4 c) Caramelized Onions (you know how to caramelize onions, yes?)
DUSTING MIXTURE for the linen liner and shaped loaves
1 part fine semolina flour
5 parts white flour


Whisk flour and yeast together.  Pour water over.  Using wooden spoon or your hand mix carefully to insure all the flour is wet.  Cover the container and allow to sit on the counter at room temperature for 10 to 14 hours.  The starter will peak around 12 hours.

Whisk together white and buckwheat flours, salt and yeast.
Use approximately a third of the water to pour around the starter edges to release it from the sides of the bowel.
Mix remaining water and honey in large bowl and add the starter; mix starter into water with wooden spoon.
Because you may not need all of the flour, reserve a small amount (arbitary, maybe 1/2 cup).  Mix the dry ingredients into the starter to combine then switch to a plastic bowl scraper.
The dough will now be sticky to the touch.
Note: At no point in this process of resting did my dough double in size.
Some Babes, like some Buddies, are sticklers for following directions and amounts.  Perhaps, over the years I’ve become jaded by too many crazy mis-reads and just down right mistakes and breads that are just good.  When I read this recipe roll and tuck just morphed into stretch and fold for me which is what I did.  You’ll find several Babes who were very particular and followed the technique.
*** TUCK in my experience has always been cupping hands around a dough and tucking/pulling the dough under.  The result you’re looking for is a strong smooth finish.

“Push the dough to one side of the bowl. Roll and tuck the dough (see Rolling and Tucking), adding the reserved flour mixture and a small amount of additional flour to the bowl and your hands as needed. Continue rolling and tucking until the dough feels stronger and begins to resist any further rolling, about 10 times. Then, with cupped hands, tuck the sides under toward the center. Place the dough, seam-side down, in a clean bowl, cover the top of the bowl with a clean kitchen towel, and let rest at room temperature for 45 minutes.”


Dust the counter and your hands lightly with flour.  Release the dough from the bowl and place it seam-side down on the counter.  Stretch into a rough rectangular shape then, as you would fold a letter to place into an envelope, fold the rectangular into thirds.  Using cupped hands again tuck the sides under toward the center of the dough ball.  Give the ball a slight turn with each tuck and work your way around the ball at least once.  Return the dough ball seam-side down back to the bowl and cover again with the towel.
Allow to rest again for another 45 minutes.
Repeat the step 4 and return the dough to the bowl, cover with the towel, and let rest for 45 minutes.


Third stretch and fold encorporates butter and onions.  Stretch the dough into a rectangle.  Drop small pieces of butter across the top the rectangle.  Spread the butter across the top then top the smeared butter with the onions.
Roll the dough tightly and press to flatten slightly.  Turn seam side down.  Fold into thirds and roll again; roll and fold until the butter and onions are completly incorporated into the dough.  Mine took about 7 times.
Turn the dough seam side down and tuck around the ball.
Cover with the towel and let rest another 45 minutes.
Fourth and final stretch, repeat step 4, then return the dough to the bowl, cover with the towel, and let rest for about 20 minutes.


Lightly dust the work area and hands with the dusting mix.
Divide the dough in half.  I divided mine unequally as I wanted one loaf larger than the other.   Roll into two loose tubes.
Let rest 5 minutes.  Press each again and shape how you choose.
Quote from Bien Cuit:  “Transfer to the lined pan, seam-side up, positioning the loaves lengthwise. Dust the top and sides of the loaves with flour. Fold the linen to create support walls on both sides of each loaf, then fold any extra length of the linen liner over the top or cover with a kitchen towel.
Transfer the pan to the refrigerator and chill for 12 to 18 hours.”
I placed my shaped loaves (seam side down – oh dear … ) onto parchment paper and covered.  Let them rest for 15 hours in the refrigerator.
Pre-heat oven with baking stone and cast-iron inside to 500°F (260°C).
Cast-iron skillet is for creating steam with ice cubes; it really works well.


Because my loaves were on parchment I simply lifted the parchment onto the baking peel. If you followed Bien Cuit directions above you’ll need to turn the loaves seam side down at this point.
Score the top of each loaf.  The cover of this book pictures a gloriously scored loaf that I hope to one day truely capture, until then this is a good try.
Transfer the loaves to the baking stone.
Add 3 cups ice cubes to the hot cast iron skillet.
Immediately lower the oven temperature to 460°F (240°C).
Bake, rotate the loaves 3/4 way through the baking time, until the surface is a deep, rich brown, with some spots along the scores being very dark (bien cuit), about 25 minutes.  My loaves registered 205° at that time.

11. Using the baking peel, transfer the loaves to a cooling rack. When the bottoms of the loaves are tapped, they should sound hollow. If not, return to the stone and bake for 5 minutes longer.
Let the bread cool completely before slicing and eating, at least 4 hours but preferably 8 to 24 hours.

About this book:  I understand this book has a very unusual binding and the pages are printed on black paper.  Since I am currently on the road, I ordered the iBook.  I’m very happy with it.  There are many fabulous looking recipes I look forward to trying.  This recipe turned out excellent.

I hope you’ll want to be a Buddy with us.  This bread won’t disappoint.  If you want to be a Buddy, we’d be overjoyed to have you join us.  Bake the bread, post it to your blog (no blog: send we a photo of your bread (my e-mail is comments my kitchen at mac dot com) and what your experience was) before the 29th of this month, I’ll send you a Buddy badge and put you in the round up on as close to the 2nd of March as I can manage.
You will find Kelly is now a Babe.  I think you’ll find her to be a very enthusiastic Babe.  She’s baked a beautiful loaf this month as have many of our other Babes listed in the right column.  We’re without our link tool this month but I’m going to try and get that back into operation as soon as possible.
Happy Bread Baking to all!


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!



Rainbows and Carrot Bread for BBB

No parsley, rice flour that was there on Monday and disappeared on Wednesday … what maybe has some relation to a grain of rice … maybe barley … maybe not … try it anyway.

You do know that a second baking provides a golden opportunity to try it a different way aiming for better … or disaster.

Blessed by the Rainbow

Heather, our colorful Kitchen of the Month at Girl Chef, has brought Babes and Buddies an awesome Fall bread.  The orange of carrots is a gorgeous fall color and really gives vibrancy to this loaf.

Carrot Bread

Recipe from: Heather:  adapted from Artisan Breads: Practical Recipes & Detailed Instructions for Baking the World’s Finest Loaves by Jan Hed
Yield: 4 loaves

for the Poolish:
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water + more as needed, I must have used at least 2 cups total
364 grams stone ground rye flour

for the Dough:
2/3 cup toasted sesame seeds, used pepita’s (pumpkin)
1.5 cup toasted sunflower seeds
60 grams ground flax seed
2-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup carrot juice or orange juice, lukewarm
2-1/4 cups grated carrot
1/2 cup chopped parsley, omitted as I had none
824 grams bread flour, I used a mix of flours, about 450 bread flour, then a mix of white whole wheat and spelt
2 tablespoons  honey, maple syrup or agave, used agave
1/4 cup sunflower oil – I used grapeseed oil
4 teaspoons sea salt

for the Crackle Glaze:
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
132 grams rice flour, rice flour lost used barley flour
2 teaspoons agave, cut to 1 teaspoon
1-3/4 teaspoons sunflower oil
3/4 teaspoons sea salt


1. Day 1: Make the Poolish Dissolve the yeast in the water, and let sit a few minutes to bloom. Whisk in the flour until smooth – if it is very thick, continue whisking in more water until it is the consistency of a thick batter. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours; at this point it should be a bit bubbly.

2. Day 2: Baking Day In a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hook attachment), dissolve the yeast in the carrot juice, let sit a few minutes until it looks creamy (bloomed). Add the grated carrot, parsley, the lesser amount of bread flour, and the poolish to the bowl. Knead on low spead for 3 minutes. If the dough doesn’t seem too sticky, then don’t add any more of the flour; it will firm up as it is kneaded (plus you have more to add to it).

3. Add the oil to the bowl and knead for another 8 minutes. Add the salt, increase the speed, and knead until elastic, about 7 more minutes. At this point, the dough will not be sticky any longer. Use the extra flour, a tiny bit at a time, to remedy the dough if it is. Add the toasted seeds, and gently mix in.

4. Place the dough into a large, lightly oiled bowl or container and cover. Let sit for 60-90 minutes, knocking the dough back halfway through. To knock the dough back, remove it from the bowl and set it on a work surface. Use your hands to knock the air out of it. Fold the edges towards the center to form a cushion. Replace in the container, seam side down.

5. make the Crackle Glaze: While the dough is rising, dissolve the yeast in the water in a medium bowl. Whisk in the remaining ingredients. It should be spreadable, but not runny. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes before using.

6. shaping and baking: Turn the dough out onto a lighty floured work surface and divide into 3 equal parts (approximately 78 ounces of dough to equal three 26 ounce portions).

7. Form the portions into three round balls, and cover them with a clean tea towel. Let rest for 10 minutes.

8. Shape each circle of dough into an oblong loaf, by gently pressing ball down into a circle and then tucking/rolling into shape. Set loaves, seam side down, onto a lightly floured bread peel or thin cutting board. Glaze the loaves generously with the crackling glaze (you’ll have a lot of leftover glaze), and leave to rise at room temperature for 60-75 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size and the the surface is crackled.

9. Place a baking stone into the oven, and preheat to 475° F during last 20 minutes or so of rise time.
My first two loaves where done in a small Breville convection oven. The highest temperature possible in that oven is 450° and since it’s so small and the elements very exposed, I’m a little leary of misting.  Sill we were very happy with the bread.
Since I divided the dough in half and immediately refrigerated one half, I baked the second two loaves after that refrigeration time the next day.  I allowed the dough to warm up about an hour and a half and then continued with the directions and baked it in the downstairs regular electric oven.  This time the bread baked initially at 475° and was misted but it was not convection.  I did follow the instructions below in number 10 for opening the oven door every 10 minutes.  Some of the photos look very dark but there was no burning.
Neither baking got much oven spring and the loaves came out color and time wise pretty much the same.


10. Slide the loaves onto the stone (let them rise directly on a baking sheet or two if you don’t have a stone – slide that into preheated oven) and spray generously with water. Close oven door. Lower the temperature to 400° F after 5 minutes. After another 10 minutes, open the oven door to let in a little air. Repeat two more times (every 10 minutes). Total baking time will be 45 minutes.

11. Remove bread from oven and cool on a wire rack.  What you think my cooling rack looks odd … well it’s really a grill basket for little burgers but it works!
I hope your soup is ready.


I doubled the carrots, used orange juice not carrot juice, no sesame seeds, used pumpkin seeds; doubled the amounts of both seeds; replaced 100 grams of bread flour with Spelt: used agave for sweetener.
Really like Pat’s idea of diluting a jar or two of baby food carrot andand perhaps I should check to see if there’s baby carrot juice.
This makes excellent toast, great grilled cheese and tomorrow I’m using the last loaf to make stuffing for roast chicken dinner.

This is a fairly dense bread, allow it to cool or it will be gummy on the inside when you’re re

The Bread Baking Buddies are: YOU!

With Heather at Girl Chef the hosting Babe kitchen of the month, if you’d like to join in, simply bake this Carrot Bread (yes, you may adapt) – and then send her a link to your post via email (girlichef at yahoo dot com).  Submissions are due by October 29th.  Once you’ve posted, Heather will send you a Buddy badge for baking along and you’ll appear in the Buddy post.  I hope you’ll join us this month!

The weather is chilling down, bake this bread and have the soup hot!

BBB logo October 2013


Wonderful bread Heather, many thanks!



BBB ~ Crunchy Crackers

When you find a trusted source, you kept going back don’t you?  Shoes you like, you’re likely to look for the brand again?  A food blog you try a recipe from, you like, you’ll look to try another?  For me there’s at least one site whose products I love and even order repeatedly from and use their recipes.  For a bread lover, who do you think that might be?  King Arthur Flour has proven itself over and over for me and these crackers are just another proof.  This is a beautifully easy recipe to mix and bake but for me at least it’s glory lies in the topping possibilities and yes the use of a variety of flours.


Probably the most often spread we enjoy with these crackers is my spinach and artichoke, made with double spinach and given it’s own crunch with water chestnuts.

Crunchy Crackers

Recipe By: KAF
Yield: 2 cookie sheets

Summary from KAF:

This recipe mimics an extra-crunchy, seed-topped whole-gain cracker you may find at your supermarket. These are great for spreads and dips of all kinds.


198 to 227g lukewarm water
170 g King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
120 g King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons non-diastatic malt powder or sugar – I used agave
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
14 g whole milled flax or whole flax seed ground
14 g sesame seeds or whole flax seeds
*Substitute 28g golden flax seeds for the flax and sesame, if desired.
71 g sunflower seeds, midget preferred*
28 g sesame seeds*
28 g whole flax seeds

sea salt or your favorite flavored salt, if desired
*Substitute 3/4 cup artisan bread topping + 1/4 cup whole flax seeds for the sunflower, sesame, and flax seeds, if desired.


1.  Mix and knead together all of the cracker ingredients (except the seeds) to a smooth, fairly stiff dough. Add 1-2 more tablespoons of water if the dough is dry.

I used the larger 227 ml of water and regardless of the flour type used, I have found this to be a sticky wet dough.  I’ve played very loose with the white whole wheat flour called for in the recipe: on different occasions I’ve replaced part of it with barley flour, buckwheat flour, spelt and rye flours.  Perhaps we enjoyed the buckwheat flour the most but all were terrific.  Each time I’ve baked these I’ve added chopped walnuts but my Babes have show me I must expand my nut choices ~ think pecans, pine nuts …

2.  Knead in the seeds.

You may do as I’ve done at this point and refrigerate the dough: if you do that, allow the dough 90 to 120 minutes to re-warm to room temp and expand slightly as in step 3 below.

3. Let the dough rise, covered, for 60 to 90 minutes, until it’s expanded a bit.

Don’t expect a large rise here.  “Expand a bit” did not translate into doubling as you often expect with doughs.

4. Divide the dough in half. Working with one piece at a time, roll it into a rectangle approximately 14″ x 9″, a generous 1/8″ thick. This will probably require you to roll the dough until it fights back; give it a 10-minute rest, then come back and roll some more. It may need two rest periods to allow you to roll it thin enough.

Perhaps it’s because I’ve always played around using different flours or maybe it’s because I’ve always had that rest period in the refrigerator but I’ve never had this dough fight back, it’s always been easy to roll out.


I also use special rubber bands on my rolling pin to take the guess work out of how thick the dough rolls out.  I’ve used the yellow bands in the past for the 1/8 inch but this time I went with the red 1/16.  It worked just fine and gave me very thin crackers, crunchy!

5. For easiest handling, turn the dough onto a piece of parchment paper. Spritz the dough with water. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the topping seeds, lay a piece of parchment on top, and press the seeds in with a rolling pin. Turn the dough over, peel off the parchment, and repeat. Set the seeded crackers on a baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining piece of dough.

Play: these seeds are suggestions, what’s in your pantry, what do you like, what wildness can you come up with?  Seeds are great but consider using your favorite nut here.  I chopped seeds and nuts.  Because there are only two of us on most occasions, I generally divide this dough into half or thirds and bake over several days.
6. If you don’t have parchment, roll on a rolling mat or on a very lightly floured or lightly greased work surface; and transfer the seeded crackers to a lightly greased baking sheet. Sprinkle each sheet of crackers with some sea salt or flavored salt, if desired. Crush the sea salt between your fingers or grind it in a salt mill if it’s very coarse.

7. Prick the dough over with a fork or one of these.  I ruined many a cookie sheet using forks to prick cracker dough until I found one of these rollers …


and cut it into rectangles, whatever size you like.  This seemed like an insane gadget to buy at the time but after using it repeatedly for crackers and biscuits, I’ve really come to wonder why I put off paying the $20 for so long.  It expands to cut any width you like and locks in place.  Initially I thought this would be a bugger to wash but I just open it up wide and give each roller blade a wipe, close it up and swish it in the water: clean!

Pull the crackers apart just a bit; you don’t need to separate them completely. Let the crackers rise for 30 to 45 minutes. while you preheat your oven to 350°F; they’ll get just a bit puffy.


8. Bake for 20 minutes, until the crackers are a medium brown. Turn off the heat, wait 15 minutes, then open the oven door a couple of inches and let the crackers cool completely in the turned-off oven. When they’re completely cool, break apart, if necessary, and store airtight.


Once again I am KOM … Kitchen of the Month!  The Babes have really gone crackers with this one so be sure to check them all out.  They’re on the side bar there.  If you’d like to be a buddy with us this month, I will be delighted to have you in the Cracker round up to be posed on the 29th September.  To be a Bread Baking Buddy, just make the crackers, take some photos, write up your post – tell us your experience with the dough – and send an email to ~ comments my kitchen at mac dot com ~ you know to take out all those spaces ~ PLEASE PUT “Cracker Buddy” as your subject line and get those mails to me by no later than the 28th.  I’ll send you the buddy badge and get you in the round up.

BBB logo september 13

See those fire crackers in our badge, thank you Lien!  Now get cracken and BAKE!





BBB – Molasses Fennel Rye

Surprise people!  Here’s another bread/recipe I would have read and passed on and I would have missed out big time.  Gorn would have missed out bigger time.  Do I repeat myself?  Perhaps but this is why I am so sold on baking with a group of friends.  Try something new that I wouldn’t have tried on my own.

The bread.  Some of us dressed and shaped our loaves with more style than I did but none of that would have changed the aroma coming from the oven or the fabulous flavor in every bite.  So mine is a very plain looking loaf everything else about this bread is stellar.

Kitchen of the Month: Elizabeth who blogs at From Our Kitchen.  For Elizabeth and her husband this is a super special bread because they shared it on on super special evening (see her story here).  For me it’s a super special bread because Gorn ate 2/3 of the first loaf in one evening and I don’t think it had that much sugar in it.  Raisins, it does have raisins in it and he’ll go for raisins every time.  I like molasses, I just don’t like too much of it SO, I only used 2 tablespoons molasses and then used 2 tablespoons of Rise Appelstroop (a long ago gift from Holland).

Molasses Fennel Rye Bread As Posted

Recipe By: based on Jack Francis’ recipe for Molasses-Fennel Bread served at “Clark’s by the Bay” restaurant in Collins Bay, Ontario (near Kingston) – now sadly closed
Yield: 2 loaves

Ingredients:  my changes

1 1/2 teaspoon ( 6gm  5gm) active dry yeast
1/4 cup (63gm) lukewarm water
2 tablespoons molasses

2 tablespoons Rinse Appelstroop
1 3/4 cup (438gm) water, room temperature
1 tablespoon (6gm) fennel seeds
1 1/2 inch knob grated fresh ginger root
1 cup (103gm) rye flour
1 cup (122 gm) sprouted whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (59gm) wheat germ + 3 tablespoons flax seed
2 cups (254gm) unbleached white whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon (18gm) salt (I used 15 gm)
1/4 cup (36gm) Thompson raisins … it was more
up to ½ c (64gm) unbleached all purpose flour for kneading – I used about 2 tablespoons



In a smallish bowl, whisk yeast with the lukewarm water (do the baby’s bottle test on your wrist) until it resembles cream. Set aside.  Actually, I mixed the yeast in the entire 2 cups of water … and one cup of the two was potato water.
Meanwhile, in a bowl large enough for the dough to double, pour the rest of the water – In my case it was all the water.   Stir in sugar (I skipped the sugar) molasses. (If the molasses is stiff because of a chilly kitchen, use warm water instead of room temperature.) Add fennel seeds and ground ginger. Dump in flours, wheat germ, flax seed and salt and stir with a wooden spoon until the flour is mostly absorbed. Stir to form a rough dough.
Cover the bowl with a plate and let sit on the counter for about 20 minutes.
Scatter a little of the flour for kneading onto a wooden board. Turn the dough out onto the board. Wash and dry the mixing bowl. (Please do not be tempted to skip this step.) Hand knead the dough 10 to 15 minutes, adding the smallest amounts of additional flour if dough is sticky. You don’t have to use up all the flour. When the dough is springy and silky to the touch, knead in raisins.
Form the dough into a ball and put it in the clean bowl; cover it with a plate (there is no need to oil the bowl!) Let the dough rise in a no-draft place at room temperature (or in the oven with only the light turned on if you want) for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.
Gently deflate dough.
Recover with the plate and allow to rise until doubled again.
Gently turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board; cut it in half with a dough scraper if you have one, with a knife if you don’t.
Shape into two round balls and place them (not touching) on a parchment papered pan or a cornmeal dusted peel. Dust the tops with flour.
Cover with a large plastic bag overtop let rise until double in size. (about an hour if the temperature is around 20C) Baking
Place a breadstone, if you have one, on the middle to second from the top rack and preheat the oven to 400F. If you want, slash the top of the rounds with a very sharp knife. Liberally spray the tops with water. Put bread in oven and immediately turn the oven down to 350F – I left it at 400° for 5 minutes then turned it down to 350°. Bake the bread on the middle to second from the top rack for 35-40 (I bake it for  45-50  30-35) minutes until the bread reaches an internal temperature of 205-210F or until it is hollow sounding on the bottom.  My bread took 35 minutes total to reach 205° .  I took the bread out of the pans and set them on their sides for the last 5 minutes in the oven.   It’s a good idea to turn the bread  after about 20 minutes of  half way through baking to allow for uneven heat in the oven (remove parchment paper at the same time).
Remove to cool on racks. Please wait until the bread is cool before cutting it. It’s still baking inside! If you like to eat warm bread, reheat the bread after it has cooled.

This is a really lovely bread.  With the ginger, raisins, baking aromas and gorgeous flavors, I’d easily call this a holiday bread.

Elizabeth has some terrific suggestions for serving this bread but finding this a very simple, even rustic loaf I went with simple and rustic: Tuscan Bean Soup.

Simple Rustic Bread & Soup

Simple and Rustic foods … I very much like the contrast here between the today square style clear bowl, bamboo wooden spoon and the very old my Grandmother’s Jewel Tea plate.  The plate rim ring is long gone from years of washing … by hand as there was never a mechanical dishwasher in that house.  These are the plates my Grandmother collected every time she went to the grocery story and these are the plates all the family ate off of for so many years.  Sitting for hours around the table with lively talk of old times and heated political debates.  One such meal and debate ended with my father making a point by tapping my Aunt Dort’s chest which sent her over backwards (she always was tipping her chair on the back legs) and hitting her head on the molding around the floor.  Dr. Brown (John Brown) was called out to stitch her head requiring 15 stitches.  Doctors still made house calls in those days.

To receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: bake Molasses Fennel Rye Bread in the next couple of weeks and post about it (we love to see how your bread turned out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 29 September 2012. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to contact the Kitchen of the Month (Elizabeth who blogs at From Our Kitchen) to say that your post is up.

Either email Elizabeth or leave a comment on her post that you have baked the bread and a link back to your post.

Yeastspotting - every Friday ( image)

Each week, Susan (Wild Yeast) compiles a list of many bread-specific recipes from across the web. For complete details on how to be included in the YeastSpotting round up, please read the following:

Bake Your Own Bread (BYOB)
BYOB is a monthly event hosted by Heather (girlichef)

that encourages you to start (or continue) getting comfortable baking bread in your own kitchen. Anything from simple quick breads to conquering that fear of yeast to making and nurturing your own sourdough starter. All levels of bakers are welcome to participate.

BYOB BadgeFor more information about BYOB, please read the following:

Spread it with cream cheese!  Lovely.  Today we’re finishing the second loaf with salmon, cream cheese & capers!  I know it’s going to be great.  Bake it!