Category Archives: Breads

100% Whole Wheat

I was just thinking…

For Valentine’s Day, I want a knife.

No evil plans lurking anywhere, I swear!

I just want a knife that doesn’t mush my daily bread.

That’s not too much to ask, is it? Maybe you can recommend me one? (don’t worry, you will not become my accomplice in crime)

I’ve made this bread many times. I wanted to post today because I acquired some new whole wheat flour. It is from a small mill in Quebec. It’s stone-milled until very fine, and it’s organic. And kind of expensive.

You know those little flakes of bran in every bag of whole wheat flour? (at least the bags here in Canada) They cut into the gluten of the dough and prevent a nice high rise. And here is a crumb shot of a previous loaf so you can see the bran flakes for yourself.

So I thought maybe if I get a specially milled (and expensive) flour, it would be better.

And so it was. The loaf rose beautifully and had the fine crumb of a white loaf. Exactly the texture I was looking for. But the taste? Hm, it lacked the heartiness of traditional whole wheat bread; and was it my imagination, or did this loaf stale faster?

I know some people don’t like the taste of whole wheat because it is slightly bitter, but I do! What to do? Taste or texture? To be or not to be?

What do you think? What do you look for in a loaf of whole wheat bread? Besides comfort and sustenance, that is

100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

adapted from King Arthur Flour, I altered to taste

Note: When I came to school this year, I actually brought a 25lb bag of KA all purpose. If they sold KA here in Quebec, I’d definitely try that.

3 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
2 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
1 c. warm water
1/4 c. warm milk
2 Tbps. honey
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. oil

1. Pour water and milk into a large bowl, sprinkle yeast into it.
2. Stir in 3 cups of flour and all the rest of the ingredients.
4. Mix to form a cohesive mass. Now, depends on where you are and which season it is, you may need more or less flour. Just work in the flour until you get a soft dough.
5. Knead for 5 minutes, adding extra flour as required but try not to add too much.
6. Let rest for 2 mnutes and knead again for 5 minutes.
7. Put into an oiled bowl and let rise until doubled in bulk; this can take from 1-2 hours, depending on temperature.
8. Degas and form into a sandwich loaf and place in a greased 9×5 loaf pan.
9. Let rise again until almost doubled, about half hour to one hour. Make a slash down the center, if you like.
10. Towards the end of the baking time, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
11. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the interior is 190 degrees F, or about 90 degrees C.(for those in Canada)

Whole Wheat Bread on Foodista

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Ceiling Art

Let’s play 20 questions:

Q1. What happens when you try to blend chickpeas in a blender?
A. They get stuck on the sides of the blender.

Q2. What do you do to get them down so you can puree them?
A. You open the top of the blender while it’s running and you scrape down the sides with a metal spoon.

Q3. Does that work?
A. Yes, surprisingly, it does.

Q4. Doesn’t the chickpeas fly out?
A. No, they don’t. Not unless you accidentally poke the whirling blade with your spoon.

Q5. !!!
A. 😀 I’m ok.

Q6. So what happened?
A. My kitchen got a makeover…I got ceiling art!

Q7. Uh, so what do you do to prevent that?
A. Don’t touch the blade while it’s on! Or use a food processor.

No…that wasn’t me. I would never put hummus on the ceiling. That was somebody else. I did, however, have fresh, homemade pita and hummus yesterday. I love hummus…garlicky, creaming goodness.

And watching pitas puff like balloons in the oven is so much fun!

You should try one day. 🙂

Just use a food processor.

Hummus
makes about 1 1/4 cups

1 1/2 c. canned chickpeas, drained, but reserve the liquid
2 Tbsp. tahini (substitute smooth peanutbutter in a pinch!)
4 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil (available at most Asian groceries)
1/8 tsp. ground cumin
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
olive oil, to drizzle on top

1. Add all ingredients except for the olive oil to the food processor.
2. Puree until smooth.
3. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with warm pitas.

Pita
makes 6 small

3/4 c. warm water
1 tsp. yeast
1 3/4 c. all purpose flour (I sneaked in 1/4 c. whole wheat)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. olive oil

1. Add yeast to warm water in a large bowl and let stand for a couple minutes.
2. Add the salt, sugar, oil, and 1 1/2 c. flour. Mix until smooth.
3. Gradually knead in the last 1/4 c. of flour until you get a smooth, elastic ball, about 5-7 minutes.
4. Cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
5. Divide the dough into 6 portions and form each into a ball. Let rest 10 minutes. Crank up your oven as high as it can go, mine’s 500 degrees F. Put a cookie sheet upside down in the middle.
6. Roll out each ball on a floured surface until 1/8 inch thick. If too thick, pitas won’t puff properly.
7. Bake each pita about 3-4 minutes, or until puffed and the very lightest brown.

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Sourdough English Muffins

I hate teeth.

Why must we have these 32 little “bones” in our mouths? Do we even need that many anyways?

Maybe I hate teeth because they ache sometimes.

My mom used to say that toothaches are the worst kind of pain. She’s probably right. After all, she had 3 of us little rascals.

Back to teeth…I was wondering, why can’t we have teeth like we have hair?

You know, no nerves, no blood vessels attached? They can just grow and grow and grow.

And we’ll get a “teethcut” every once in a while…

And we can even get “teethstyles”!!

Is that too crazy?

Ok, I’ll let you chew on that…in the mean time, let’s talk about something completely painless.

50% Whole wheat sourdough english muffins.

This recipe was adapted from a post by kjknits on The Fresh Loaf, who adapted from it from King Arthur Flour Baking Circle. It is my first time making English muffins, since like the 99.9 percent of people, I get my little rounds of holey-ness from supermarkets, but I have been meaning to make them for a while, ever since I got my own sourdough starter going a couple months ago.

What better time to have them than Saturday morning breakfast?

So I mixed the starter, milk, and flour together last night, and let it ferment to wonderful puffiness overnight. This morning while still in PJ’s and crusty-eyed I added sugar, salt, baking soda, and extra flour to finish the dough. Stamped them into rounds promptly and left them to rise for 45 minutes. During which I took a shower and had some coffee.

After that everything took its course very naturally…and here we are!

The taste is fairly close to store-bought, though I might add a touch less baking soda next time. No hint of sourness at all, thanks to the baking soda. After I dumped the soda in it dawned to me…wait a minute, acid plus base equals bye bye tangy-ness…oops. It’s ok, everything worked out in the end. I had faith.

As for the texture…is it all nooks and crannies? Well…not exactly. You get a bit of holey-ness, a couple were nice and holey, but mostly it’s more of a soft pillowy-ness. Not to worry, it still absorbed butter like a sponge.

All right, I’m going to let you decided what you think about them, along with “toothcuts” and  “toothstyles”, not to mention “toothdyes” and “tooth salons”…

Sourdough English Muffins

Makes about 12 (smallish, 2.5 inch in diameter)

1/2 C. starter (mine is a 100% hydration white starter)
1 C. milk
1 c. all purpsoe whole wheat flour
1 c. all purpose white flour

3/4 c. all purpose white flour (use as much as needed to form a smooth, slightly sticky dough)
1 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda

Semolina or cornmeal, for dusting

1. Combine the first 4 ingredients, cover, and let rise for 8 hours or overnight.
2. Stir in the sugar, salt, and baking soda.
3. Work in enough flour to form a smooth dough, it’s ok if it’s slightly sticky.
4. Knead for 4-5 minutes, adding flour as required. (a dough scraper is helpful here)
5. Roll or pat into a round between 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch thick.
6. Cut into rounds.
7. Let rise for 45 minutes on baking sheet dusted with semolina or cornmeal.
8. Heat a skillet or griddle on medium heat and spray lightly with oil.
9. Working in batches, cook the muffins about 4-5 minutes on each side, or until light brown. (I used a cast iron skillet and turned the heat lower to prevent burning)
10. As I’m sure I don’t have to tell you this: split and butter and devour.

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Flakey Buttery Croissants

One might say that I’m picky when it comes to croissants. I don’t like the regular super market vegetable shortening-laden pastries that they call croissants. They have no real butter taste and no real flakiness. The perfect croissant for me has a flakey exterior with a hint of crunch and a soft, chewy interior that isn’t too airy. And an overwhelming taste of butter, of course.

Croissants like that are readily available from any of the excellent bakeries in Montreal, and so I’ve never attempted to spend most of the day in the kitchen, laboring over homemade ones. Until now. After reading Shirley O. Corriher’s recipe in her wonderfully useful and scientific book Bakewise I decided, you know, I’ve got so much time on my hands, why not try it?

So I did.

As far as first attempts go, it isn’t bad. Shirley described her croissants and very flakey, and I thought to myself, flakey is good. I mean, flakey is good, and I would never think that a pastry could be too flakey. But that is what they turned out to be. Too flakey. Which in turn gave them too much crunch on the outside. The inside, however, is nice and moist and chewy.

Also, the croissants had oodles of butter and oozed and pooled when they were baking that I was reluctant to peek in the oven. Doing so made me feel too guilty. 😉

So, in the end, I reached these two conclusions about making my own croissants:

  1. VERY time consuming, not that I didn’t know that from the beginning.
  2. VERY guilt-inducing, more so than buying bakery croissants.

I think I will probably stick with bakeries, since they do such a good job and have the time that I don’t. That is not to say that I won’t give it another go if one day I get snowed in and want to add some padding in preparation for hibernation.

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“Best of 2000” Cinnamon Buns – End of July NaBloPoMo

First of all, thank you Ms. Kanis! You were always a wonderful, attentive, fair teacher who knew what she was doing!

This recipe came from a cooking class I took back in high school. No other cinnamon bun recipe, prior to, or post, this one, has impressed me as much. To me, these are truly the BEST. Not just from the year 2000 either.

Very few foods offer me the pleasure of wiping my brain clean, then flooding with the very taste and texture of it. I don’t often go, “WOW, this is GOOD.” Once was a pizza I ate in junior high, it tasted vaguely of butter. Don’t ask. Another time was during eighth period Culinary Arts, a single bite of cinnamon sugar encrusted brioche-tasting dough.

After I lost the recipe last year, I have searched up and down, in and out, for it. Finally, when I went back to Jersey earlier this summer I visited Ms. Kanis at my high school to get a copy. So so happy I have it again. It’s gem.

I think I can justify eating one for breakfast if it wasn’t glazed. Save the glazed ones for dessert, although the glazed ones are definitely better than the non-glazed. The taste of butter dominates in the glaze and adds an extra “oomph” to the bun. These are sticky, chewy, gooey. Everything you need in a cinnamon bun.

This remains one of the only recipes that I do not alter.

“Best of 2000” Cinnamon Buns
adapted from Ms. Kanis, WWPHSS, with much love and gratitude
makes 12 large buns

Dough:
1 package active dry yeast, or 2 1/4 tsp.
1/2 c. warm water
1/3 c. plus 1/2 tsp. sugar, divided
1/2 c. warm milk
1/3 c. butter, unsalted, softened
1 tsp. salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 1/2 c. to 4 c. all-purpose flour or bread flour

Filling:
1/2 c. melted butter, unsalted, divided
3/4 c. plus 2 Tbsp. sugar, divided
1 1/2 Tbsp. cinnamon
3/4 c. chopped walnuts, I toasted mine first
3/4 c. raisins, optional, we didn’t use it in class, and I’ve never used it

Glaze:
1/3 c. melted butter, unsalted
2 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2-4 Tbsp. hot water

To make the dough:

  1. Combine yeast, warm water, and 1/2 tsp. sugar in a measuring cup and stir, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix warmed milk, remaining 1/3 c. sugar, butter, salt, and egg; stir well and add yeast mixture.
  3. Add half the flour and beat until smooth. Work in enough of the remaining flour to make a slightly stiff dough, it will be sticky.
  4. Turn out onto a well-floured counter. Knead 5-10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Add more flour to the work surface as needed to keep it from sticking. As Ms. Kanis used to say, “As smooth as a baby’s bottom, or as smooth as my grandmother’s cheek.”
  5. Place in a well-buttered bowl, cover and let ruse until doubled in bulk. You can place it in the fridge overnight.

To make the filling:

  1. Punch down the dough and let rest for 5 minutes. Roll out on floured counter into a 15 by 20 inch rectangle.
  2. Spread dough with 1/4 c. melted butter.
  3. Mix together 3/4 c. sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over buttered dough. Sprinkle walnuts and raisins, if using.
  4. Roll up jelly-roll fashion, starting from the short side, so you end up with a 15 inch. log. Pinch edges to seal and cut into 12 slices
  5. Coat the bottom of a 9 by 13 baking pan (I used two 9 inch round pans) with remaining 1/4 c. melted butter. Sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbsp. sugar. Place slices close together in pans. Cover and let rise until doubled. Once again, you can refridgerate overnight. For a treat in the morning!
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 23-30 minutes, or until nicely browned. Let cool slightly, then spread with glaze.

To make the glaze:

  1. Mix melted butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add hot water 1 Tbsp. at a time until glaze is of desired consistency.
  2. Stir again before using.

If there is anything that makes me happy, even when I’m down, it’s these cinnamon buns. It fills your house with the comforting scent of cinnamon and sugar and your heart with happiness. Enjoy. 🙂

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Cloud Nine Bread


I love low effort, high quality when it comes to cooking. I also love bread. I have this whole theory that bread is all you need in life. I mean, Jesus said that “this is my body, and this is my blood” right? He was referring to bread and wine. What else do you want? Bread, to me at least (and I suppose I’m a bit of a nut case when it comes to good bread), symbolizes love, faith, and happiness in life. Think about it, you bake bread for people you love, I definitely put a lot of love in my loaf. And the people who eat the bread you bake, have faith in you that you will do it again.

And you will. At least, you will with this one.

Back to that low effort, high quality thought. This bread is called Cloud Nine Bread for a reason. A bite of it sent my happiness through the roof. I told you bread has everything to do with happiness right? All you need in life is bread…some butter doesn’t hurt either. 😉

This bread is light, fluffy, soft, and moist. Perfect for snacking, sandwiches, or toast. Look at that crumb!

Now, go to your kitchen, simply mix, pour, watch a little TV, bake, and bee happy! (No kneading involved) No I didn’t misspell “be,” that’s just the way it is. In my book that is. 😀

Cloud Nine Bread
(makes one 9 x 5 loaf)

4 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp. instant yeast, or 1 packet
2 1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 cups milk, warm
5 Tbsp. melted butter, or oil

In a large bowl, mix the milk and the yeast, let stand for about 3 minutes to dissolve. Add everything else and give it a good mix. Do it for a few minutes. The batter will be thick and hard to pour. Dump the mess into a well-greased loaf pan. Let rise for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until puffy and doubled.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes, or until well browned and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
Let cool, slice, slather with butter, and ascend to cloud nine. 😀

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How to become fat and lazy…English Muffin Bread

First of all, allow me to tell you all a story. There is this Chinese fable. See, there was this very very lazy man (not sure if he was fat, but I’d imagine so), so lazy that he did nothing all day, everyday, except open his mouth when his wife feeds him. Surprisingly she did that everyday, if I were her I’d have filed for divorce a long time ago. But one day, she had to leave. Her mother was sick and she had to go visit her for about a week. She, being the good wife that she is, figured out an ingenious way of feeding her husband while she was gone. She made this great big flat bread with a hole in the centre, like a giant donut, and put it around his head. When he became hungry all he had to do was open his mouth and eat the bread. Lazy huh? And I thought my boyfriend was bad. ;P The wife, satisfied with her handiwork, left for her mother’s. A week later she comes back to find the poor man lying on the ground, starving to death. She was extremely confused because she thought the bread would last all week. And it did. In fact, more than half was untouched. She was very puzzled so she bent down to examine him. Guess what had happened? I was exasperated when I read this, I think you would be too, and get a good laugh out of it. When the man had eaten all the bread that was in directly front of his mouth, he was too lazy to use his hands to turn the bread around so he could begin eating the other side! Thus the man starved. The ultimate laziness.

What does this have to do with this lovely loaf of bread you ask? I am going to become that man if someone doesn’t stop me. Well, kind of. First I gotta make bread, which actually partially contributes to my laziness. There’s no kneading. None whatsoever involved. Now, I don’t mind kneading bread dough. But I just might form a habit of not kneading bread if they all turn out this good. And addictive. See me stealing a sliver even before the loaf is anywhere close to being cool?

I just couldn’t keep away. It was too good to be true. Warm. Soft. Buttered. Fragrant. Waiting for me. (To get fat but totally worth it)

Make this bread right now and proclaim yourself lazy. 😀

Note: This bread makes terrific toast as well. All the more reason to make it.

English Muffin Bread

(makes one loaf, I cut mine down to fit a 6 inch round glass pan)
adapted from the King Arthur website

3 cups flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. instant yeast
1 tsp. salt

1 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. oil

Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Heat milk and water in a cup in the microwave until hot, but not burning to the touch, about 120-130 degrees. Pour into dry ingredients along with the oil. Stir, stir and stir. For about 3-5 minutes. The dough will be very soft, hardly a dough at all, more of a stiff batter consistency. Spoon into greased 9 x 5 loaf pan. (I sprinkled mine with cornmeal) Cover with plastic wrap.

Let rise for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until doubled. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Then attack it with a knife, or your hands 😉 and slather with butter. And bask in your laziness.

See that there? That’s a little puddle of happiness. Creamy melt-on-your-tongue happiness. The love of my life. (Sorry hon’) 😉

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