Oh how I’ve missed baking bread every week!
This beautiful, holey, airy, chewy bread is exactly what homemade bread should be: rustic and delicious and better than anything you can buy in the store, partly because it only contains five ingredients (flour, water, yeast, salt, and olive oil) but mostly because you made it yourself. That’s the part about baking bread that I love the best.
Happy Easter! I hope the Easter Bunny brought you all lots of chocolate.
This Easter I wanted to make some special hot cross buns (as in, more special than these or these). I was thinking something along the lines of “hot cross bunnies” (haha, I’m so punny… bunny… sorry) but then I came across these spiced stout sourdough beauties from Lauren Bakes (she recently posted a chocolate chip version, too), which stopped me dead in my cutesy little bunny tracks. Her recipe contained dried fruit soaked in tea plus a sourdough levain made with Guinness, which I swapped out for chocolate porter because, well, I’ll take any excuse to buy it, really. Continue reading
Every couple Fridays, Nate and I make homemade pizza for dinner. This is one of the rare times we are actually in the kitchen making dinner together (something I would like to do more often), me stretching out the dough, Nate shredding cheese and slicing toppings, deciding together what to put on each pie. We always do one Blue Hawaiian, and the second is usually a mish-mash of whatever else we have on hand – salami, olives, sautéed mushrooms and onions, chopped bell peppers… Last week at Aaron’s birthday pizza dinner, Nate and I shared the pizza special of the day, which was topped with crumbled homemade Italian sausage, fresh sliced Anaheim peppers, and cherry tomatoes on a creamy, cheesy base. It was such a good, simple combination of flavours that I knew I wanted to add it to our homemade pizza topping arsenal. I feel a bit silly posting an actual “recipe” for a pizza because I never follow one myself, so instead here’s the basic rundown for this cheesy sausage, jalapeño and fresh tomato pie.
Stretch out your favorite pizza dough onto a lightly oiled baking sheet (I love this pizza dough – I use a little bit of whole wheat flour and freeze half the dough for our next pizza night). Drizzle it with a few tablespoons of heavy cream (spread it around) and shower it with a good amount of freshly grated parmesan cheese and a few shreds of mozzarella.
Scatter it with some cooked and crumbled homemade Italian sausage, some sliced fresh jalapeños (or Anaheim peppers, if you can find them), and a few quartered grape or cherry tomatoes.
Sprinkle with a bit more mozzarella (less is more in this case – I find too much cheese keeps the crust from cooking properly) and bake in a hot oven until the crust is golden and the cheese melted and browned. Let it rest for a few minutes, then sprinkle with more parmesan and some black pepper before cutting into wedges.
A few years ago I had lunch with my Mum at an Ethiopian restaurant in Vancouver. Never having had Ethiopian food before, I had no idea what to expect, other than my Mum telling me that we would be eating “injera” made from “teff”, which really didn’t do much to clear things up.
What arrived at our table was a giant, crèpe-like flatbread covered in dollops of several kinds of thick, curry-like stew, to be shared between the two of us. Eating with our hands, we tore off pieces of the crèpe and used it to scoop up the stew, which was spicy and flavourful and incredibly delicious. The crèpe, as it turned out, was called injera, and it was made from a grain called teff (which happens to be gluten-free). It had a pleasant, almost spongy texture and slightly sour flavour, due to it being made with a sourdough starter of sorts. Along with being one of the most unusual eating experiences I have ever had (it’s not everyday in Canada that an edible part of your meal serves as both plate and eating utensil), that lunch was also one of the most memorable and delicious.
Valentine’s Day. An excuse for heart-shaped baking. I’m in!
Lemon is my favorite sweet/dessert flavour second only to chocolate, but it’s hard to buy decent lemon baked goods. I hate fake lemon even more than I love real lemon, and unfortunately most of the time, store-bought lemon-flavoured things are pretty dreadful. So in the case of lemon, it’s best to take matters into your own hands.
There is a restaurant in Victoria called Pagliacci’s that is famous for its focaccia bread: light, fluffy, chewy, flavourful, and baked in olive oil so that the crust is both crunchy and almost buttery at the same time. I know several people who go there just for the bread (myself included), and it stands to reason that making a Pagliacci’s taste-alike focaccia was on my List.
I always forget about Bread Baking Day, but this month it is being hosted by Jenni of the Gingered Whisk, so I made the effort to participate. The theme Jenni chose this month is bread with a decorated crust. I’ve been inspired by the gorgeous loaves of bread on this blog for a long time so this was the perfect opportunity to give it a try.
Sometimes I swear that Jenni and Shelley, the ladies behind Sourdough Surprises, are inside my head, reading my thoughts. I was just contemplating baking all my leftover Christmas chocolate into brioche buns when they announced that January’s Sourdough Surprises recipe was going to be just that: sourdough brioche swirled with chocolate and topped with struesel, also known as babka.
The December 2012 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by the talented Marcellina of Marcellina in Cucina. Marcellina challenged us to create our own custom Panettone, a traditional Italian holiday bread!
Happy post-Christmas, everyone. I hope you ate a lot of good food and were surrounded by the people you love. I still have a bunch of Christmas baking recipes to post, so here we go…
I had just added panettone to this year’s Christmas baking list and was looking for recipes when this month’s Daring Bakers pannetone challenge was announced. Perfect timing/serendipity/coincidence, once again. I really wanted to try a sourdough version (which is apparently the traditional way of making panettone) but holy cow is the process ever involved, and when I looked at my calendar I realized that I just didn’t have enough time. So I went with the recipe provided by Marcellina instead, switching out the raisins and candied citrus for chocolate and candied orange. The final product tastes like a Terry’s Chocolate Orange and is terribly addicting. Nate and I ate almost half a loaf in one sitting (actually we were standing in the kitchen, tearing veraciously at the panettone, but that’s just a technicality).
Third savoury recipe post in a row – this might be some sort of record! I promise I will be back with the sugar-and-butter-laden baking posts soon – there’s a lot of Christmas baking going on these days, plus there was a birthday cake last weekend…
In addition to being THE time for eating cookies and chocolate, Christmas is quite often THE time for entertaining. A platter of crunchy lavash and flavourful olive tapenade will go a long way to making your entertainees happy, plus you can play the super-host/hostess card by letting it slip that you made it all from scratch. Just don’t tell anyone how easy any of it was!