Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Spiced Pumpkin Rolls- We Knead to Bake #33

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Shaped like mini-pumpkins, these easy spiced pumpkins rolls,redolent with the flavors of cinnamon, ginger and allspice, will be a great addition to your holiday meal. Canned pumpkin is readily available here, but fresh pureed pumpkin would be delicious if you have it.

Pumpkins are essentially a variety of squash and is an integral part of the Native American Three Sisters of Agriculture, the other two being corn and beans. When planted together, the corn serves as a natural trellis for the beans to grow on. The bean roots give nitrogen to the soil and stabilize the corn on windy days. The squash, or pumpkin plant, helps keep the weeds down and provides shade for the shallow roots of the corn. Legend has it that a small fish is sometimes buried to nourish the plants. After harvesting the pumpkins, the Native Americans roasted, dried, boiled and parched the flesh to preserve for the cold winters ahead. They also dried the pumpkin shells to store grain, seeds and beans.Today, we use pumpkin flesh in savory dishes as well as sweet.

A great recipe from Aparna for We Knead to Bake #33. Original recipe Beyond Kimchee

Spiced Pumpkin Bread Rolls for Thanksgiving


1/3 cup warm milk
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 cup pureed pumpkin (unsweetened)
40 grams butter, melted
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
2-1/2 to 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
5-6 pecans, sliced into two vertical sections.


I used the bread machine to process my dough, but you can use your food processor or prepare the dough by hand.
Process all the ingredients on the dough cycle, except the sliced pecans, in the pan of your bread machine according to the manufacturer's instruction for your machine.
When cycle has completed, remove the dough to a lightly floured surface. Punch down, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Divide the dough into 8 or 10 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. Flatten the ball slightly and using a sharp knife or scissors, make 8 cuts equidistant  from each other, from the edges toward the center. leaving the center uncut-similar to a flower.

Place the rolls 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Loosely cover and let them rise for about 45 minutes. Using a round end of a wooden spoon dipped in flour or olive oil, make a deep hole in the center of each roll so you can place the sliced pecans in after baking. Brush the rolls with milk.

Bake the rolls at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush the rolls with melted butter or a mixture of honey and water for a shine.

Let cool and then place a sliced pecan piece for the stem in the prepared hole of each roll. Other stems can be celery stalks, chives or slivers of small bell peppers for the stems.

Makes 8-10 rolls. Recipe can be doubled.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Fall Still Life Images

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Apple Still Life- à la manière de Cézanne 

Pears on White

The End of Fall

Wine and Fruit

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Barmbrack -An Irish Halloween Bread-We Knead to Bake #32

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In the Irish tradition, a loaf of Barmbrack has various objects baked in the bread. These objects were when found in a slice were used as a fortune- telling game and carried a meaning depending upon what the object was. Traditionally, the objects were: a pea, a stick, a piece of cloth, a small coin and a ring. It's not hard to figure out what each object signifies. The ring meant the person who received it would be married within a year and the coin, good fortune. The pea, stick and piece of cloth meant varying degrees of misfortune.

Barmbrack makes a lovely bread for tea time. A sweeter dough than sandwich bread, but not as rich as cake, the bread is usually sold in round flattened loaves. The sultanas, raisins and fruit are often soaked in hot black tea before being mixed in the dough. The Irish name for the bread is Barin Breac or Boreen Brack.



1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup sultanas
1/8 cup dried chopped apricots
1/8 cup dried cranberries
1-1/2 cups strong, hot black tea
3-1/2 to 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4.teaspoon allspice 
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
30 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 to 3/4 cup warm milk or milk plus tea mixture 
1 tablespoon caster sugar, plus 1 tablespoon boiling water mixed to glaze the top of the bread (optional, but gives the bread a lovely sheen)


Put the dried fruit in a bowl. Cover with the hot tea and leave overnight or for at least 4 hours until they plump up. Once plumped, drain the liquid and reserve it if you would like to use it for the milk tea mixture. Set the fruit aside. Be sure to drain the fruit well, otherwise it will make the dough too wet.

Using your favorite method of mixing the dough, place flour, instant yeast, sugar , spices and salt in a large bowl or the bowl of your machine. Whisk or mix together. Add the beaten egg and softened butter and mix well.

Now place the reserved tea into a 1 cup measure and top up enough warm milk to make 1 cup. Add this to the dry ingredients in the bowl and knead into a just sticky to the touch and elastic dough, adding more flour if necessary. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and flatten out. Sprinkle the drained fruit over the dough and fold in half and then fold once again. Then gently knead the fruit into the dough.

Shape into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Turn the dough to coat well and then let rise, covered until it has doubled (about 1-1/12 hours. When doubled, gently knead the risen dough and divide into two portions. Shape each into a round and play on greased baking trays or into two greased 8" x 5"loaf tins. If using the ring and trinkets, place them into the dough before shaping. Let the dough rise for another 45 minutes to an hour, covered, until puffy. Bake at 350°F for about 35 to 45 minutes until the breads are golden brown and done. If necessary, cover the bread with foil if browning too quickly.

About 5 minutes before taking the breads out of the oven, brush with the optional sugar glaze. Return to the oven for another 4 minutes for a lovely finish. Cool breads on a wire rack. Cut into thick slices and slather with sweet cream butter.
Makes 2 medium loaves or rounds

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Yeasted Banana Sandwich Bread

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Mashed bananas are the secret to this moist and versatile yeasted sandwich bread. A slightly sweet bread perfect for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, French toast or as a side for stews, curries and soups.  Also, if you are a beginning bread maker, this is an easy bread to make. I use my bread machine to process the dough. If you have one and want to process your dough in it, just follow the manufacturer's instruction for the dough cycle. Then shape as directed below. 

This yeasted banana sandwich bread is the bread of choice for We Knead to Bake, a Facebook baking group begun by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen.

Yeasted Banana Sandwich Bread
Original Recipe-King Arthur


3/4 to 1 cup lukewarm milk
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon Vital wheat gluten (optional) If using bread flour, the gluten isn't necessary 
25 gm (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
2 medium sized bananas, mashed (about 1-1/2 cups)


Place all ingredients except milk in a large bowl or the bowl of your food processor. Add 3/4 cup of the milk and knead until you have a shaggy dough. Add more milk as necessary to get the consistency.

Knead by hand until you have a soft, smooth and elastic dough that is not sticky. Shape into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover with a cloth and let rise until nearly doubled in volume.

Deflate the dough and shape to fit in a lightly greased 8-1/2"X 4-1" loaf pan. Loosely cover the tin and let rise for about an hour until rounded and almost at the edges of the loaf pan. Brush with a little milk and spring with oats, if desired. Bake at 350°F (180°C) for about 40-50 minutes or until the bread is nicely browned and sounds hollow when tapped.

Let cool completely before slicing. Makes one medium sized loaf.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Maritozzi Con La Panna (Roman Cream Buns) We Knead to Bake #28

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Flavored with lightly toasted pine nuts, raisins and candied or fresh orange peel, Maritozzi (Maritozzo, singular) are very soft yeasted buns, similar to a brioche. After baking, the buns are traditionally brushed with a sugar syrup and after cooling, are split almost all the way through and filled with ample amounts of sweetened whipped cream. I chose to dust my Maritozzi with powdered sugar as they were to travel with me to Kiawah Island

The word maritozzi means "little husbands" and is often called sweet marriage breads. Legend has it that young girls looking for husbands used to cook these little breads and bring them to the town center to sell. Girls who sold the best looking and most flavorful buns were said to have their chances of marriage recommendations greatly improved. Source.

Original recipe for the Maritozzi comes from Food52 and was chosen by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen for We Knead to Bake #28. I used my bread machine to make the dough, but if processing by hand or in a mixer, you can find the method and complete recipe on Aparna's blog.

Makes 6-8 buns
Helpful Video on Making Maritozzi


1-1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 cup warm milk
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 (50 grams) unsalted butter, softened
Pinch of salt
1/8 cup raisins, or currants, soaked in 2-3 tablespoons unsweetened orange juice or warm water for 10 minutes
Zest of 1 orange or 1 tablespoon candied orange peel
1 tablespoon lightly toasted pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Glaze

3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons water


Powdered sugar for dusting

For the Filling-(if using)

500 ml (2 cups) fresh cream, whipped to stiff peaks with a few teaspoons of powdered sugar. 2-3 tablespoons of cream per bun.

Bread Machine Technique

Place all ingredients in the bread machine pan in the order suggested by the manufacturer of your bread machine. Process on the dough cycle.Usually, there is a beep when adding ingredients like the pine nuts and raisins, or incorporate them in the dough after the finished cycle.

When the dough cycle is complete, remove the dough to a lightly floured surface. Lightly knead to remove the air pockets.  Divide the dough into 6 or 8 pieces, according to your preference. Roll each into a smooth ball and then flatten into a circle with your fingers. Roll up the circle jelly/swiss roll style and seal the seam. Shape into an oval and place on a parchment lined baking sheet leaving enough space between the rolls for them to rise.

Lightly cover and let them rise for about 30 minutes. Bake at 350°F (180C) for 15-20 minutes. Don't over bake the buns or they will lose their softness.

If you are going to brush the buns with the sugar syrup, make it while the buns are baking. To do this, boil the sugar and water together in a small pan until the sugar dissolves. Brush the syrup of top of the HOT buns once you have taken them out of the oven.

Let the buns cool completely. Then slit them, using a sharp knife, making sure you don't cut them all the way through. Open them up slightly and fill with the whipped cream, making the edges smooth with the flat side of a knife or spoon. Moisten your fingers with a little water and hold each Maritozzo carefully at its base, to avoid the sugar base sticking to your hands and pulling pieces of the brioche away.

Serve with a cup of hot coffee.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Orange and Cinnamon Swirl Bread-We Knead to Bake #27

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What I really like about this Orange and Cinnamon Swirl Bread is the captivating flavor of the orange juice and zest in the dough combined with tangy apricot preserves, brown sugar and cinnamon filling . Plus,  it's a very easy yeast bread to make, too. However, careful attention to rolling out the dough is essential so that during the baking process, the dough won't burst out of its seams and make a bubbly mess in your baking pan. Toasting the leftover bread in a buttered cast iron pan is delicious!
 Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen chose this bread from 500 Breads by Carol Beckerman, a book she was given to review. If all the recipes in the book are this good, then it's needs to be on my bookshelf. 

Orange and Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Makes 2 medium sized loaves

1 teaspoon sugar
2/3 cup warm water
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
The juice and finely grated zest of 1 orange
5 tablespoons apricot preserves
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
Oil for greasing the baking pan


Using the oil, grease 2 8"x 4" loaf tins. Dissolve the 1 teaspoon sugar in the warm water and sprinkle the yeast on top. Leave for 10-15 minutes until frothy.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt and 3 tablespoons sugar. Add the liquid yeast, the eggs and the juice and zest of the orange. Work into a somewhat firm dough. Turn out on a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, turn so it is coated all over and put in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 1-1/2 hours.

When dough has risen, turn out on a lightly floured surface and punch down. Knead briefly, then divide dough into two equal pieces.  Roll into a 6x13-inch rectangle. Spread each rectangle with the apricot preserves and sprinkle with the cinnamon and brown sugar. Roll each rectangle jelly roll style and place in the prepared loaf tins. Put in a warm place for about 30 minutes until doubled.

In a pre-heated 400 °F (200C) oven, bake the loaves for about 30-35 minutes until golden brown and dough makes a hollow sound when tapped. Cool on a wire rack before slicing. 

*For a less sweet bread, omit the 3 tablespoons of sugar and decrease the brown sugar to 1/8 cup. The eggs can be omitted and regular sugar substituted for the brown sugar.

Submitted to Yeastspotting.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Some Favorite Images

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As much as I love food photography and posting recipes, I've decided to expand my photography and post various images that I have enjoyed photographing or when I learn a new technique. I welcome your input at this new venture.

Gadget by The Blog Doctor.