Sun-dried parmesan bread

Sun-dried parmesan bread

This was my kitchen sink recipe.  I accidentally made too much baguette dough so I decided to throw some of it in my banneton with a few added extras.  I had sun-dried tomatoes around and I had recently ground up some parmesan.  So, I thought, why not mix it into my extra dough.  Before putting it into the oven I spritzed it with water and gave it a sprinkling of cracked pepper.  Out of all the breads I have made this one actually made my mouth water when it was baking.  The smell was incredible.  Here is how I made it. 

Follow my poolish recipe for the dough.  I made 900 grams of dough for this recipe.

After the second rise lightly flatten out the dough into a square that is roughly 12″x12″.  On one half of it sprinkle 1/4 cup ground parmesan cheese and then, on top of that, gently press in 1 cup of chopped sun-dried tomtatoes.  Leave 1/2 inch of dough around the edges so that you can seal it back up again.  Fold the empty side over the top of the tomatoes and press down on the edges to seal.  Flatten the dough slightly and business fold it into thirds (like you are mailing a business letter).  Let your dough rest for 5 min and business fold again.  I folded mine three times. 

At this point you should have a few layers of tomato and you will want to shape your dough into a boule.  You don’t need a banneton for this because all of the folding and shaping has made your dough fairly tough and it will stand on its own.  However, let your boule rise for an hour, until doubled, before baking. 

Pre-heat the oven to 500F while your dough is rising.

Right before baking spritz your boule with water and top with pepper.  You need the pepper.  Trust me. 

Spray the walls of your oven with water and bake for 2 minutes.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Turn the heat down to 425

Bake again for 30 min at 425. 

Check the temp of your bread after 30 min.  If the internal temperature isn’t over 195 it isn’t done.  The optimal temp is between 195 and 205. 

sun-dried parmesan bread


Pumpkin Challah

Pumpkin Challah
This bread works for just about any occasion. It has a great pumpkin flavor but it isn’t overpowering. The extra pieces, if there are any, make great croutons.

Yield=two large loaves.

8 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp yeast
1/2 tsp allspice
(I used ground allspice berries)
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup warm water
(100 degrees)
3/4 cup egg yolks (between 10-12 eggs)
2 Tbl canola oil
1/2 cup honey
15 oz. pumpkin puree
(if using canned pumpkin 15 oz. is a full can)
1 Tbl salt
1/4 tsp Ascorbic Acid (this will help your bread stay mold free–it is optional but it works)

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and wisk together
Combine all wet ingredients in a bowl and wisk together

Mix dry and wet ingredients and let sit for 15 minutes. This allows for autolyse (the flour to hydrate).

Kneed for 5-8 minutes by hand or 3 minutes with a stand mixer. Your dough should pass the windowpane test.

Place dough into a covered oiled bowl and let double, about an hour.

Scale and cut dough into two pieces. Put one piece back into your covered bowl. You will now be braiding your challah. This is the best part, because challah dough is incredibly easy to work with, all those egg yolks. Braiding dough is the same as braiding hair. The diagram on this page explains two different ways to braid and it gives instruction on how to do a 6-strand loaf.  Challah is very forgiving when it comes to handling so don’t fret about getting it right the first time.

Proof for 1 hour, aka let sit out, or refridgerate overnight in a plastic bag. Before placing challah in the oven glaze with an egg wash. Egg wash=1 egg plus 1 Tbl water mixed together.

Bake at 350F for 50 minutes. Let cool for 1 hour before cutting.

I sprinkled mine with poppy seeds

Pumpkin Challah

Seitan pepperoni pizza

Sadly, I cannot claim credit for the recipe for seitan (pronounced “say-tan”) pepperoni.  I got the recipe from Fat Free Kitchen.  I do want to give credit where it is due and I don’t want people to think that I am stealing this recipe.  I would be sad if someone stole one of my recipes.  I did tweak the original recipe in minor ways, but nothing so drastic that I could claim it as my own. 

Dry ingredients:

1 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons smoked paprika or regular paprika
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 teaspoons mustard seeds (I used brown seeds and I ground it with my mortar/pestle)
1 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (also ground with mortar/pestle)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ginger

Wet ingredients:

2 tablespoons peanut butter
2/3 cup water
4 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/4 teaspoon agave nectar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix all wet ingredients in a separate mixing bowl.  Make sure to mix the wet ingredients well so that they can be easily incorporated into gluten.  An easy way to make sure peanut butter mixes with water is to heat both up in the microwave for a minute.  This softens the peanut butter enough to mix with the water.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry, stirring well; I use a Kitchen Aid mixer with the paddle attachment. Remove from the bowl and knead for a few extra minutes.  You want to make sure that all your ingredients are evenly distributed.  Tip:  once you mix water or any liquid with your gluten you will not be able to add anything else to the mixture.  This is why it is important to have all of your wet ingredients mixed together prior to adding them to your gluten mixture. 

Roll the mixture into a log shape and cut in half so that you have two shorter pieces.  Normally I will cut this recipe into four equal pieces so they are more like snack sticks.  Once you have created your logs tightly roll them in aluminum foil, shiny side in.  Make sure to use lots of foil because your seitan logs will try to expand in the oven and they will, I have done it, explode out of the foil.  Seal the ends by twisting and pushing in to compact the seitan even more.  You want to make a tight seal.  Place logs lengthwise on oven racks and bake for 1 hour, turning over after 30 minutes.  Undercooked seitan will be gummy and rubbery in the middle so take it out after an hour, cut it in half and take a taste-test piece or just touch it with your finger. 

Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool. You do do not need to unwrap them from their aluminum foil prisons to store them in your fridge.  If you want to thinly slice them you will need to do this before placing them in the refridgerator.  Refridgerating them makes it impossible to thinly slice.  I have only had success using my food processor when attempting to make a thin slice.  Anything manual just crumbles the seitan.  My friend thinks a mandolin will work but I have been too thrifty to purchase yet another cutting tool.

The crust for this pizza came from Whole Grain Breads by Peter Reinhart.  It is one of the best whole wheat pizza crusts I have ever used.  Normally whole wheat pizza dough is too sticky, but this recipe produced a crust that was easy to work with.  It had great gluten structure without having to add vital wheat gluten.  I was even able to throw the pizza.  Oh, how I love to throw pizza into the air and catch it again.

Toppings on pizza: 

Half can of tomato paste (I didn’t add spices to the sauce because most of the flavor of the pizza will come from the cheese and the pepperoni)
Chopped tomato
Shredded Parmesan
Seitan pepperoni

I pre-baked my crust for two minutes at 550F and then baked for another nine minutes with all of the toppings.

Whole Grain Baking

My New Year’s resolution was to eat more whole grains. Peter Reinhart will be my guide this year with his book Whole Grain Baking. (I don’t plan on doing a year in the life of a book, but I do plan to utilize the colon cleansing power of the whole grain.) I know that if you are a bread baker and have looked on the internet for recipes or formulas you have stumbled across that name before. He is the man. If you have never read one of his books before I suggest Artisan Breads Everyday or Bread Bakers Apprentice. These are good books get started and most library systems have them.

Anyways. Following my resolution I made Reinhart’s Broom Bread on the 2nd. Looking at the formula for this it seemed that it would be dense and painful to chew; however, it was the lightest whole grain bread I have ever had. The secret? A soaker. Soaking whole grains in water overnight allows hard grains to soften and hydrate. Also, it utilizes a biga. The recipes in Whole Grain Baking are all basically the same with minor variations. The reason for this is because it is not a recipe book. It is a book to explain whole grain baking and many secrets for success. So, what’s the point of this blog? I love Peter Reinhart and so should you if you are serious about becoming a better baker. He explains baking in a way that makes it accessible. Because of Crust and Crumb I am able to create my own recipes using only a scale, a pen, and paper. Check him out and enjoy the results.


 Welcome to 2010. I haven’t been on here for a while because I almost gave up. No comments made it seem that no one was reading and what is the point of writing this if no one is reading. However, I am going to stick with this. Also, I will try to add more recipes that involve the dreaded Volumetric measure system. Ick. But I’ll do it for you.
Pretzels. Hard crumbly pretzels are made using a lye bath. Have you ever seen Fight Club? I don’t want to mess with lye in my kitchen. This recipe is for glorious soft pretzels. These are perfect for dipping in sauce or just eating plain as a snack. They can be covered in cinnamon and sugar for a breakfast treat or slathered in marinara and cheese to make an afternoon pizza-y snack. This recipe makes 6 75-80 gram pretzels.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.




3/4 cup warm water
1/2 Tbl yeast
2 Tbl brown sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
(1 Tbl gluten–optional)
These do not need salt in the dough.
Kneed until dough forms a smooth ball: 5-7 minutes.


Let rest for 20 minutes or store dough in refridgerator overnight for even better flavor.


Scale dough into 75-80 gram balls, or six pieces.


Roll each into a thin rope, approx 1 1/2 feet in length, and shape into your desired pretzel shape.


Boil each pretzel in water that contains 2 Tbl baking soda and 2 Tbl mild molasses. (Baking soda gives it a darker color and molasses gives it shine–this doesn’t seem correct but it is) Boil each pretzel for 30 sec total.


Give each pretzel an egg wash and sprinkle with coarse salt or other topping of your choosing.


Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes. Let the pretzels get a little dark but you don’t want to over cook them.


These can be enjoyed right out of the oven.



Bakers Percents: 

100% Flour
64% Water
10% Brown sugar
2% Yeast
2% Gluten


with a poolish–this gives them a more complex flavor




100% Flour
178% Water
0.01% Yeast
(with a 200 gram flour poolish I generally add 1/8 tsp for an overnight ferement, but the amount of yeast will depend on how long you intend to let your poolish ferment: shorter ferement=more yeast)


100% Flour
20% Poolish
52% Water
10% Brown sugar
1% Yeast
2% Gluten


10 80gram pretzels:


430g Flour (I used 50/50 with AP and whole wheat flour)
86g Poolish
224g Water
43g Brown sugar
4g Yeast
8g Gluten



Dark Ganache Frosting
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1 & 2/3 liquid cups heavy cream
2 Tbl. Cognac (optional– we’re not regular Cognac drinkers, so I didn’t go out and buy some for this, but if you’ve got it, great.)
Break the chocolate into pieces and process in a food processor until very fine. Heat the cream to the boiling point and, with the food processor’s motor running, pour it through the feed tube in a steady stream. Process a few seconds until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and cool completely. Gently stir in the Cognac if you’re using it. Allow to cool for several hours until it reaches frosting consistency.
Perfect Whipped Cream
1 liquid cup heavy cream
1 Tbl. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. You can also refrigerate your mixer beaters. Having everything chilled will help your whipped cream whip up faster.
Take everything out of the fridge and beat until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised. Spread onto the cake and roll it up. It’s best to make this right before you use it so the whipped cream has the best texture.