Category Archives: Breakfast/Brunch

Walnut Raisin Bread

Wow, this bread is seriously good! When I showed it to my friend LazyEaterSF, she was like, “It looks like real bread.” It does, doesn’t it?

I found the recipe on Bakies blog and I believe the original is from British Larder. It’s a great recipe, though  I encountered some difficulties with the amounts, probably due to conversion to cups. Maybe my Recipe Converter app is off. Anyway, this always seems to happen when trying to convert measurements. The dry to liquid ingredients wasn’t right, so I ended up adding about 1 cup more water than was specified. Also, my dough took a lot more time to proof than was stated in the original. This is probably because I don’t have instant yeast and only have active dry at home. In any case, I let the dough proof overnight and then divided it into two and let it rise another 2 or so hours until doubled in size.

I did make a few ingredient changes: used all white flour instead of half wheat, but only because I didn’t have any wheat on hand. I also replaced half the original amount of walnuts with raisins.

*All changes – converted amounts and added ingredients are reflected in the recipe below.

One thing, no, two things I love about this recipe are 1) the poolish or starter or whatever you call it was fast acting  (not overnight) and 2) I could dump all the ingredients into my Kitchen Aid, including nuts and raisin, and leave everything to mix on its own. Super easy.

Apart from measurement conversion issues, the bread is everything I hoped it would be and more! So gorgeously golden and crisp on the outside and light, soft and airy on the inside. I love the additions of the raisins. They give such a nice sweetness to the bread.

Oh, yes, I am definitely making this again.

Enjoy!

Walnut Raisin Bread (converted and adapted from a recipe found on Bakies)

Makes 2 round loaves

INGREDIENTS

4 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp table salt

3/4 tsp active dry yeast

2 Tbsp honey

2 1/2 cups warm water, divided

1/2 cup walnut halves

1/2 cup raisins

 

1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp water

3/4 cup cold water

METHOD

  1. Place yeast, 1/2 cup flour and honey in a small mixing bowl and add 1/2 cup of the warm water, mix well, cover and leave to prove for 30 minutes in a warm spot or until the mixture starts to bubble. (Mine took about an hour.)
  2. In the bowl of a mixer add the remaining flour, bubbling yeast mixture, walnuts, raisins, salt and the remaining warm water together. Attach the dough hook and mix the bread dough on slow speed for 10 minutes.
  3. Grease a large mixing bowl. Once the dough is ready turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape the bread dough into a smooth ball. Place the smooth bread dough into the greased mixing bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Leave to proof until the dough has risen to double in size. (I left it overnight.)
  4. Dust two baking sheets or pie pans with flour, set aside.
  5. Gently turn the bread dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide the dough into two even halves.
  6. Roll each half into an evenly shaped smooth ball, place each ball onto your already floured trays or pie pans, cover gently with plastic wrap and leave to proof for the second time until nearly double in size.
  7. In the oven, move one of the racks to the very bottom and place an empty baking sheet on top. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  8. Once the dough has risen, brush the risen bread carefully with the egg wash and use a knife to make small cuts at the top of the risen bread. (I just cut a simple “x”.)
  9. Place the baking sheets or pie pans in the preheated oven and pour 3/4 cup of cold water directly into the pan at the bottom of the oven and shut the door quickly. The water will give a burst of steam that will help the loaves to puff and form a golden crust.
  10. After about 10-12 minutes, place a sheet of foil over the bread.
  11. Continue baking the loaves for 35-40 minutes, give the bread a tap at the bottom and if it sounds hollow it means the bread is done. Place the bread onto a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.

Kale Banana Milkshake

My eye doctor recently told me kale is the new superfood. It’s good for my eyes and I’m thinking it’s good for basically everything else–my hair, my skin, weight control, etc. I recently developed this arm/hand thing (not carpal, ulnal–the nerve that runs through the ring and pinky finger) which I am hoping will improve also.

I’ve been eating kale in salad, in omelets, in quesadillas and as of this morning in my morning smoothie. So that may seem a bit odd, but it’s actually pretty good. And it makes me feel like I started my day off right–and that I’m loving and caring for this not-getting-any-younger physical vehicle of mine.

The kale flavor and bits lend a fresh, green taste and isn’t bitter at all. Besides that, you know that anything with banana and milk is going to be tasty. I tossed in some frozen cantaloupe I had as well, but it’s totally optional and also easily substituted with other fruits.

Enjoy! (Oh and if you know of any interesting kale recipes, pass them my way 🙂 )


 

Kale Banana Milkshake (inspired by For the Love of Food)

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup water

1 big leaf kale, without stem and rinsed well

1 banana

1/4 cup cantaloupe, cubed (You can leave this out or replace it with any other kind of fruit.)

1 tbsp honey

METHOD

  1. Put everything into the blender and mix until smooth.

Lemon Peach Scones

I made these ages ago. I’m sure I would have been able to write a quirky short story to accompany this recipe. Back then. Now, however, all I can do is keep things short and sweet and just post the dang recipe.

Before I do, let me just say two things:

1) The lemons: My former CEO let me raid the lemon tree in his “Babeland” backyard. (He’s German and according to him, there are a lot of babes in the Marina.) Serious huge lemons–the size of a small child’s head actually–and, surprisingly, they were not completely dry and flavorless. On the contrary, every gigantic pulp bit was bursting with juice.

2) The peaches: Handpicked from the Haight Street Farmer’s Market. It may have been a while ago, but I STILL remember just how gorgeous they were. And also huge–again, the size of a small child’s head.

This recipe I found on Always With Butter is awesome. Super simple. I picked it because it used A LOT of lemon. I also thought it would be able to handle the addition of my farmer’s market peaches.

Giant lemon + giant peach = epic combo for scones!

Oh, the original recipe included a glaze, but I skipped it. Too sticky. These are good just on their own. Hope you like them 🙂

Lemon Peach Scones (recipe adapted from Always With Butter)

INGREDIENTS

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

2 tsp grated lemon zest (I used like 1 tbsp!)

1 large peach, cut into bite size chunks

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat oven at 350 F.
  2. Sift together baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.
  3. Cut in butter until it forms coarse crumbs.
  4. Mix in juice and grated zest.
  5. Quickly and gently fold in the peach chunks.
  6. Form into two disks and cut each into 4 pieces.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool before serving

 

Hefeschnecken (Sweet Rolls with Hazelnut-Raisin Filling)

Alright, one recipe for you. (Blogging after being away for such a long time is hard!) Sugary, sticky, pull apart rolls filled with ground hazelnut, grated apple and raisins! In German they’re called “Hefeschnecken” which literally means “yeast snails”. Ick, I prefer my English title. 😀

By the way, the recipe I used is from my favorite Swiss cookbook, Tiptopf. I think it’s the one all the kids use when they learn to cook at school. It’s the best!

Enjoy!

Hefeschnecken (recipe from Tiptopf)

INGREDIENTS

Sweet Dough

300 g flour

1/2 tsp salt

3 tbsp sugar

60 g (2 tbsp) butter, at room temp.

20 g fresh (2 1/4 tsp active dry) yeast

100 ml milk

1 egg

Filling

3 tbsp apricot jam (I used plum)

150 g ground hazelnuts

3 tbsp sugar

1 apple, grated (with peel is fine)

1/2 cup raisins

zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon

4-6 tbsp milk or cream, at room temp.

Glaze

5 tbsp confectioners’ sugar

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp – 1 tbsp water

METHOD

For the dough:

  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and sugar. Add the butter, mixing lightly with your fingers until mixture is crumbly.
  2. Stir together yeast and milk. Allow to sit and “activate” for ca. 5 minutes. Then, whisk in the egg.
  3. Make a well in the flour mixture, pour in the wet ingredients and mix, gradually bringing the dry into the wet. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Then cover, put in a warm place and allow it to rest until doubled in size.
For the nut filling:
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together ground nuts, sugar, raisins, grated apple, lemon zest and juice and milk or cream. Note: the filling should be moist, but not runny.
For assembly:
  1. Roll the dough out into a rectangle, 3 mm thick.
  2. Spread the apricot jam over the surface of the dough, followed by the nut filling. Then distribute the raisins evenly over the top.
  3. From one end of the dough, start rolling. Once rolled, hold the outermost dough layer in place and slice into 5 cm thick disks.
  4. Lay the disks cut side up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in the bottom half of a cold oven. Turn on the heat to 220 C and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and quickly prepare the glaze.
For the Glaze
  1. When the rolls are about ready to come out of the oven, mix together the confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice and water until combined.
  2. With a pastry brush, spread evenly over the hot rolls.


Shakshouka (Egg in Tomato Sauce)

Quick din-din for one: Shakshouka. Wikipedia says it’s Tunesian. Thinking about it now, though, maybe it’s more Tex-Mex? It’s almost like a low-carb Huevos Rancheros. I don’t know; I was hungry and threw together whatever was in the fridge. And this delicious, little dish was the result.

Enjoy!

Shakshouka – Tex Mex Style (Eggs in Tomato Sauce)

Recipe inspired by The Three Cheeses

printable recipe

Serves 1.

INGREDIENTS

small splash olive oil

1 clove garlic, roughly chopped

1/4 cup red onion, roughly chopped

1 leaf mustard greens

1/2 cup diced stewed tomatoes

1 egg

1/4 cup canned beans (I used pinto)

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp ground cumin

pinch of red chile flakes

salt and pepper to taste

grated cheese to top, optional (I used Jarlsberg, but any kind would work)

plain yogurt to top, optional

METHOD

  1. In a pre-heated (medium-high) small pan or saucepan, sauté onion, garlic and mustard greens in olive oil until slightly golden. Then add in tomatoes, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir and allow to simmer over low heat until liquid reduce somewhat, ca. 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in beans and crack an egg over the top. Cover and reduce heat further to lowest setting. Cook ca. 5 minutes. At about the half way point, sprinkle optional cheese over the top. Then cover, turn off the heat and allow to finish cooking and the cheese has completely melted. Be careful not to overcook the egg–the yolk should be sticky, golden and still a little runny. (If you like it cooked all the way through, cook it longer.)
  3. Top with plain yogurt and eat!

 

Swiss Zuepfe

I’ve already posted about this incredible Swiss non-bread here. (I still think it’s bread, but in Switzerland, it’s just “Zuepfe”. Okay.) I’m just so proud…because it’s so preeeety! And seriously the only bread that works for me every single time. But here’s the recipe again, including U.S. measurements this time.

This was the perfect Thanksgiving bread.

Enjoy!

Swiss Zuepfe (recipe from TipTopf and also posted here)

printable recipe

INGREDIENTS

3 cups or 500 g all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp.

2 tsp active dry

1 1/3 cups or 300 ml lukewarm milk

1 egg lightly whisked, plus 1/2 an egg yolk

METHOD

  1. Warm the milk for 20 seconds in the microwave. Stir in the yeast and let stand for 15 minutes or until slightly frothy.
  2. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, mix flour, salt and sugar.
  3. Cut in the butter. Use your fingertips to work the butter and flour in together, creating a uniform mixture.
  4. Whisk together egg and egg yolk. Add half to your yeast and milk mixture; stir to combine.
  5. Make a well in the flour mixture. Pour in the liquids. Knead for 10 minutes (by hand or in your stand mixer) until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  6. Place dough in a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until doubled in size.
  7. Once dough has risen, place it onto a clean surface and cut in half. Roll the dough back and forth with your hands until you end up with two  equal-lengthed 18-inch strands. The middle of the strands should be thicker and the ends, thinner.
  8. Braid the dough. Place it on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate and let rise for 15 minutes. (This last proof is optional.)
  9. Then with remaining egg, brush two layers of egg onto the dough.
  10. Place braid in cold oven, set oven to 425 F / 220 C and bake for 35 to 45 minutes.
  11. Remove the bread, knocking on the bottom for doneness. It should sound hollow. Allow to cool, then slice and serve!

Bread: Whole Wheat or Half?

Can you tell the difference? I should’ve taken a closer shot of the first (whole wheat), but that aside, arrggg…night time pics. What a major pain in the blog! I’m still working out how to take good photos without having to set up some sort of makeshift studio. Maybe I’ll eventually be so good that I’ll be discovered by Food Network, and who will pay me just to bake and blog. THEN maybe I’d buy myself a monster DSLR and use artificial lighting.

A girl can dream, right?

And in the meantime, I’ll get back to the point of this post: bread, whole wheat or half-wheat/half-white to be exact. In Switzerland, you can buy “halbweissbrot”, which is I think 20-60% whole wheat flour and the rest, white. And then there’s “vollkornbrot”, which is basically all whole wheat. So I tried the recipe (from 4EveryKitchen), which is for a whole wheat french bread, twice. The first time, I followed the directions EXACTLY, but then ended up with a very dense loaf. The second time, however, I replaced half the whole wheat flour with all purpose and then replaced the bread machine yeast with active dry. And the result? Muuuuuch better. Perhaps my yeast was off the first try. Question: if I use all purpose flour, is extra gluten as called for in the original recipe really necessary? I don’t know—now that I think about it, perhaps not. Oh well, it worked all the same.

Because the halbweissbrot (half-white bread) is the one that turned out, I guess that’s the adapted recipe I’m going to post. Both loaves were tasty and full of hearty whole-wheat goodness, however, the half-white was just lighter and altogether prettier to look at. Again, it was probably a yeast issue, something I’ll have to investigate the next time I make this.

Btw, the directions are for the bread machine, but you can adjust to by hand or stand mixer, of course.

Enjoy!

Halbweissbrot / Half-White Bread (adapted from a recipe found on 4EveryKitchen)

printable recipe

Makes 1 loaf

INGREDIENTS

1 1/4 cups, plus 1 tbsp buttermilk (or 1 1/4 cups milk plus 1 tbsp lemon juice)

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tbsp gluten (optional?)

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp plus 1 tsp SAF instant yeast or 1 tbsp plus 2 tsp bread machine yeast (I actually used active dry)

METHOD

  1. Place all the ingredients IN ORDER into the bread machine. Select Dough setting and press start (ca. 1 hr 20 min).
  2. When the bread machine beeps at the end of the dough cycle, press STOP and unplug the machine. Open the lid and use your fingers to deflate the dough. Let the dough rise in the machine for another 30 minutes.
  3. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. This dough is very sticky, so when it’s ready to come out of the bread machine, just quickly tip it onto your prepared surface. Knead a few times and pat into a 12”x6” rectangle. Roll up from the long edge into a flat loaf and roll back and forth with your palms to make pointed ends. Fold the log of dough in half lengthwise and pinch seams to seal. Roll the dough back and forth again to make the loaf about 14” long. Cover gently with a damp dish towel and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, ca. 1 hour.
  4. Twenty minutes before baking, place a baking stone on the center rack of a cold oven and preheat to 450 F/230 C, then reduce to 400/200 C. (4EveryKitchen suggests leaving the oven on for 20 minutes before lowering the heat to 400 F/200 C.) Place an EMPTY cake pan or broiler tray out of the way of your stone.
  5. Holding kitchen shears at 45 degree angle, snip the surface 5 or 6 times down the length of the loaf, cutting no more than 1” deep.
  6. Sprinkle a little flour directly on your pizza/baking stone. Using a dough scraper or steel spatula to help you, slide the loaf onto the prepared stone. Just before shutting the door add 1 cup hot tap water to the hot empty baking pan. This will steam the oven and make a very crispy crust. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the surface is dark brown and sounds hollow when you tap the top.
  7. Remove and let it cool on a rack.

Mmmm…Banana Bread

Nom nom nom. I made this ‘nana bread yesterday with a good friend of mine. We used to teach together, and just recently she became a mommy to the most gorgeous little boy. (He’s so funny; I’ve never met a baby so concerned about being clean!) So now whenever I go over to her place, she schools me on things like feeding schedules, bath time and “Mobys” (a cotton wrap baby carrier—Question: how do people not get tangled up in those things? They look so complicated!)

Anyway, S. had three really, really brown bananas and had asked me what to do with them. Naturally, I suggested banana bread—it’s easy, requires no special equipment or ingredients. I also have a stellar recipe, which I already wrote about in a previous post. I especially appreciate how flexible it is: you choose the kind of “fat”, the liquid, and whether to add nuts or not (No nuts this time). Then, blend wet ingredients and mix dry, combine and bake. How nice.

So, I went over there yesterday afternoon to show S. how to make it. And as we waited for it to bake, we sipped our chai, nibbled on brie and crackers and talked about all the big things happening in our lives right now—there’s A LOT going on. I think it did both our little hearts good—the baking and the talking. Ah, girlfriends. Sniff, sniff. 😛

Enjoy!

Recipe: Banana Bread

Cinnamon Raisin Rolls

Oh, man—what a day of distraction! And not because today just happens to be Halloween .I started the day so well, too: drove my sister to work at 7:30 AM (on a Sunday), went for a little jog around the university, showered and was ready to be productive by 9:30. But, somehow, in between writing cover letters and revising resumes, I decided my iTunes playlist needed updating and that my photos needed editing. Fast forward to 2 PM, and I was still futzing around with iTunes. Some people waste countless hours on Facebook; as for me, no longer a part of the FB Community (OMG, drama), all I am left to waste the hours away with are email and iTunes.

At least I baked. That should count for something.

Rolls again. But wait, these are actually pretty good! I did (instead of working) as I usually do when searching for a recipe: I went to Tastespotting and did a quick “bread” search. After a few minutes browsing and ogling all the gorgeous photos, I came across a recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Bread from A Chow Life. I stuck to the recipe, except, because I didn’t want to get my hands dirty, I let my bread machine do all the kneading. The directions described below, however, use the original hand-method. Another thing I changed is that I used almonds instead of walnuts and replaced 1 tbsp of butter with olive oil. (I didn’t want to cut into a second stick of butter.) Finally, as evidenced in the pictures, I made rolls, not a loaf.

I like this. The flavor is warm and spicy from all the butter and cinnamon. The color is also amazing—hello, gorgeous cinnamon speckles. And, the wonderful aroma of sugar and spice and everything nice that takes over the kitchen during baking is seriously in itself almost reason enough to make this.

Enjoy!

Cinnamon Raisin Rolls (slightly adapted from A Chow Life)

INGREDIENTS

1 pkg (or 2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water

1/4 tsp, plus 3 tbsp sugar

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (I used almonds)

5 tbsp butter, melted and cooled to room temp. (I used 4 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil)

1/2 cup water

1 cup raisins

METHOD

  1. Stir the yeast, warm water, and 1/4 tsp sugar together in a small bowl. Let the mixture stand in a warm location until the yeast starts foaming, 5-10 minutes.
  2. Combine the flours, remaining sugar, cinnamon, salt, and walnuts in a large bowl. Stir well. Stir the yeast mixture, butter, and 1/3 cup water into the flour mixture. Then stir in the raisins or work them in by hand. Let stand 10 minutes.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until it is smooth and elastic, about 7 minutes.
  4. Lightly oil a large bowl and turn the dough in it to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl loosely with a kitchen town and let the dough rise in a warm location until it is doubled in bulk, 45 -60 minutes.
  5. Oil a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. Punch the dough down and shape it into a loaf. Press the loaf into the prepared pan and, again, cover it loosely with a kitchen towel. Let it rise in a warm place until it nearly fills the pan, 45-60 minutes. (Or, if making rolls, I cut and rolled the dough into 13 pieces, placed them on a floured baking sheet, covered and let proof also for about 1 hour.)
  6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the bread until the top is browned and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped with your finger, 35-40 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool on a rack. (In my case, before baking, I brushed the roll tops with water. Then, I baked for about 28 minutes.)

Look at those speckles! So pretty!

Whole Wheat Breakfast Rolls

Just a quick post for these rolls I made for the students yesterday 😛 The recipe is from CookingBread.com. I like it: the bread, which I made into individual rolls, is tender, tears nicely and has a pleasantly warm flavoring due to the addition of milk, butter and olive oil to the dough. (They also keep longer this way, I think.) I took the liberty of adding a few diced prunes to the mix to cut through and compliment the richness of the dough. I made 16 average-sized rolls, but you can make more or less by changing the size.

Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Breakfast Rolls (adapted from CookingBread.com)

INGREDIENTS

1 3/4 cup lukewarm milk

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

3 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup runny honey

1 large egg, beaten

4 tsp instant yeast

4 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup all purpose flour

2 tsp salt

1/2 cup prunes, diced (optional)

METHOD

  1. Heat milk to lukewarm. Pour into a bowl add melted butter, olive oil, honey and beaten egg; mix all together until well blended. If using a bread machine, pour in now.
  2. In another bowl, combine flour, salt and yeast; mix together and knead until smooth and elastic. Place dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let proof for about 1 1/2 hours or till doubled in bulk. If using bread machine, add in dry ingredients and run dough cycle.
  3. Once proofed, pour out dough onto a flat surface and knead for a minute or two. If adding diced prunes, knead them in now.
  4. Cut dough in half and shape into loaves. Place into two greased 4.5×8.5 loaf pans. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to double in size. Or, you can do what I did, which is to form the dough into small rolls and place them side by side on a lightly floured baking sheet.
  5. Bake in a pre-heated 350 F oven for 30-35 minutes if baking loaves or 25-28 minutes if baking rolls, or until golden and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from pans and cool on a wire rack. (I baked my rolls at 360 F for 26 minutes because my parents’ oven tends to under-heat.)