Thursday, 31 December 2009

Celebrating A Year in Bread -- Slideshow by The Bread Experience

It's December 31st! Today marks the end of a decade and tomorrow is the beginning of a new one. What a neat and challenging time we live in!

Happy New Year from The Bread Experience!

To say farewell to 2009 and bring in 2010, I decided to take a trip down memory lane and showcase all of the breads that have been featured on The Bread Experience blog in 2009. I made over 100 breads this year and highlighted about 93 of them on the blog (including BBA Challenge breads, HBinFive breads, Kneadlessly Simple breads, ABin5 breads and other breads). That equates to about two loaves per week since most of the recipes made more than one loaf.  Wow!  That's a lot of bread. A lot of yummy bread!

I plan to continue my bread-baking journey in 2010.  I hope you'll join me in The Bread Experience.

Happy Baking from The Bread Experience!

Have a Blessed New Year!

Here are some additional bread-making resources for your bread-baking enjoyment:
You might enjoy some of the other breads that have been featured in the bread making blog.

Feel free to leave a comment on this blog. We'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

BBA Challenge Breads -- Slideshow by The Bread Experience

In May 2009, the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge began. I've had lot's of fun participating in the challenge. From May through December, I made 29 of the BBA breads. There are 43 breads in the book and I'm ready to take on the rest of them.  I've been taking a break from the challenge during the Holidays, but I'll be back in full-force in January in time to start the Sourdough series.  

Right now, I'm cultivating a seed culture to make the barm (Mother Starter) for the sourdough breads.  I have a starter that I've been nurturing for the past two years but I decided to make the one from the Bread Baker's Apprentice book as well to see the difference.  Actually, I had three starters that I had been nurturing for the past two years, but decided to throw two of them out the other day to streamline things a bit.  It's time to start things anew don't you think? A new year, a new start. I don't usually name my starters, but I think maybe I'll give this one a name.  I wonder what name I should give it. Hmmm...we'll just have to see.

Since we're heading into a new year, I thought it would be fun to take a look back and see how far we've come in the BBA challenge.  I created a slideshow of all the BBA breads I've made this year.  I hope you enjoy it!

If you're not familiar with the BBA Challenge, check out Pinch My Salt's blog for the details.

You might also want to check out the BBA Challenge Facebook Group.

Feel free to leave a comment on this blog. We'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking from The Bread Experience!

Have a Blessed New Year!

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

2009 Canning Adventures -- The Bread Experience

It's almost time to say goodbye to 2009 and begin a new year.  I'm so excited.  I began my canning adventures this year and I've had so much fun. During my 2009 canning adventures, I canned several different kinds of jams, marmalades, pickles, and salsa throughout the Summer and Fall. I thought you might enjoy seeing the fruits of my labor.

Here is what my jam supply looked like before Christmas. (The photo doesn't include any of the pickles or salsa I made or the refrigerator jam).

I could almost open a store with all of these jars.  Now there's an idea!  Actually, I gave most of these away as Christmas presents along with some delicious breads. However, I did keep some of each kind of jam for my canning supply.

This is what my supply of jams looks like now.  Not to worry!  I'll be replenishing my supply soon enough.

Here is a list of the jams I made from August - December 2009. I've included a link to the ones I posted on the blog in case you would like to try some of them for yourself.  I'll be posting more soon. Stay tuned...

Click for tigress can jam food blog challengeI had so much fun canning in 2009.  I'm looking forward to 2010.  Beginning in January, I'll be participating in the tigress' Can Jam.  We'll be making jams every month for a whole year.  As you can imagine, my jam supply will grow very quickly.

The tigress' Can Jam begins Jan 1st.  I can't wait! You can follow my progress on this blog. You might even want to make some of the jams yourself.

Happy Canning and Baking from The Bread Experience!

Have a Happy and Blessed New Year!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Bread Gifts: Red Ribbon Gift Loaf

Are you looking for a unique idea for a lovely bread gift?  This Red Ribbon Gift Loaf (also known as German Kuchen) is made in the shape of a gift with ribbons and a bow on top. The ribbons look like they are actually baked with the bread.  Actually, they are - well, not the actual ribbons but foil placeholders to mark where the ribbons will be placed once the bread has cooled.  A very cool idea indeed!

Kuchen is the German word for "cake" and is used to describe various types of coffee cakes made with either yeasted doughs or leavened cake batters. These cakes can be made with a custard or cheese filling, fresh or dried fruit, or fragrant spices and nuts.

This version is made with a yeasted dough and includes dried fruit, spices and nuts. I've been wanting to make this bread for a couple of years. Not sure why it took me so long to get around to it.  It's a really fun and crafty bread to make.  Easy too! You'll want to make this bread just so you can get your hands on the dough.  It's magnificent!  So silky smooth.  I wanted to keep kneading it even after it was ready. But I refrained.

You might enjoy these other Bread Gift ideas:

If you like coffee cakes, check out this Kaffee Kuchen recipe.

Red Ribbon Gift Bread

Makes: Two Loaves

Click here to view and print the recipe.


In large bowl, combine 1-1/2 cups flour, sugar, undissolved yeast, orange peel, cardamom, mace and salt. Heat milk, water and butter until very warm (120°F to 130°F). Gradually, add to flour mixture; beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally.

Add 2 eggs and 1/2 cup flour; beat 2 minutes at high speed, scraping bowl occasionally. With spoon, stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. I used a Danish dough whisk to finish mixing the dough.

Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes.  The dough feels so good.  Look how soft and subtle it is.

Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 45 to 60 minutes.

Punch dough down; turn out onto lightly floured surface. Knead in fruits and almonds.

Divide dough in half; shape into two 5 x 5-inch square loaves.

Another one of life's daily mishaps - although this one wasn't my fault!
About this point in the process, a generator blew in my neighborhood so the power went out.  It's always something, isn't it? I'm off this week so I was making this bread during the day rather than at night but the photos are a little bit dark.  But as they say, "the show must go on..."

Place loaves on large greased baking sheet.

Cut four 18 x 2-inch strips of foil. Fold in half lengthwise.

Grease one side of each strip. Mark loaves for tying ribbon after baking by crossing two strips on top of each loaf, greased side down, making “+” shape. Tuck ends of strips under loaves.

Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 45 to 60 minutes.

The house was cold due to the power being off so I put the loaves in the oven to rise with a hot cup of water.  About the time the loaves had finished rising, the power came back on.  Funny how that works!

Brush egg white on loaves.

Bake at 350°F for 40 to 45 minutes or until done.

Remove from sheet; discard foil and let cool on wire rack.


When cool, tie loaves with 1-inch wide ribbon. Making bow at top.

There we go...isn't that pretty!

I'm submitting this bread for BBD #25 -- Baking under the Tree.  I thought this bread was very appropriate for this month's theme.

BreadBakingDay #25 (last day of submission January 1st, 2009)

Bread Baking Day #25

To learn more about BBD #25, click here.
You have until January 1, 2010 to submit your own Festive bread.  Go ahead and get started...
The round up has already begun so be sure to check out all of the fabulous breads in the BBD #25 Roundup.


I'm also submitting this bread to YeastSpotting a weekly bread roundup hosted by Susan of Wild Yeast. Please visit Wild Yeast to view all of the lovely breads in this week's roundup.

Happy Baking!

Monday, 21 December 2009

Making Jam: Christmas Marmalade

Here is a beautiful and easy-to-make Holiday Jam. This Christmas Marmalade is made with oranges, lemon, pineapple and cherries.  I've been wanting to make this jam for several months. I got a food processor as an early Christmas present so I decided now was the time.  I broke in my food processor last night by chopping up fruit for this marmalade and two other marmalades (to be revealed in future posts).  I was in heaven -- it made things so easy!

Did I mention that this marmalade is delicious?  Well, it is! I plan to give some of this away for Christmas but I'm definitely keeping some for my family as well.  Yum!

Christmas Marmalade
Makes: About 7-8 half-pint (8-ounce) jars (Plus a little extra for the preparer)

The recipe for this festive marmalade is from Keeping The Harvest: Discover the Homegrown Goodness of Putting Up Your Own Fruits, Vegetables & Herbs by Nancy Chioff & Gretchen Mead.


  • 3 oranges
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 large can (1pound, 14 ounces, crushed pineapple)
  • 3 pounds sugar
  • 1 small jar maraschino cherries, chopped



Tip: If you have a food-processor, it definitely speeds up the process for making this marmalade.

In a food processor, fitted with the metal blade, working in batches, pulse oranges and lemon until finely chopped.  Do not puree.  To make things easier, I cut the fruit into quarters before putting it in the food processor.

Here's a picture of my new food processor.  It does such fine work!

Here are the chopped cherries.  What a beautiful color!

In a deep, stainless steel saucepan, combine chopped oranges, lemon, pineapple with juice and sugar.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil hard, stirring until constantly, until mixture begins to sheet from a metal spoon (20-30 minutes).

Add cherries and boil until mixture reaches gel stage, about 5 (or 10) minutes.

Remove from heat and test gel.  If gel stage has been reached, skim off foam.  Mine didn't have any foam.

Ladle hot marmalade into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if necessary.

Center lid on jar.  Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.

Process in a boiling-water bath for 5 minutes, up to 1,000 feet altitude.  If you live in a higher altitude or need more detailed instructions on water-bath canning, please refer to the instructions on this site: National Center for Home Preservation.

Wait 5 minutes, then remove the jars from the canner, cool and store.  These jars are ready to be stored (or given away).  See the big one in the back?  That's the one I'm keeping!


I had a little bit of jam left that wouldn't fit in the jars. Not to worry!  I'm putting it to good use.  It tastes really good on toasted 7-Grain Bread.


Happy Canning and Baking!

Here are some of the references I use in my canning adventures. You might enjoy them as well:

Here are some delicious breads that would go well with this jam!

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Healthy Bread in Five Minutes Review

Several weeks ago, I received the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes cookbook (from the publisher) to review.  Healthy Bread in Five Minutes is the new book (released in October 2009) by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoe Francois.  I have their first book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes, so I was excited at the chance to review their new book.

I decided the best way to review the book was to make some of the breads. As it turned out, the day after I received the book, I found out about the HBinFive bread-baking group that Michelle at BigBlackDogs had formed.  So of course, I joined.  The baking group officially starts baking through the breads in the book in January but we've been baking bonus breads (provided by the authors) for the past two months.  I've actually made a few breads from the book using the dough from the bonus breads.

For the most part, I've tried to follow the formulas as they are presented in the book.  However, having said that, one of the things I really like about this book is that the formulas are really flexible.  You can use mostly whole-wheat flour or substitute some or all white whole-wheat or use a greater percentage of all-purpose to whole-wheat depending on your preference or your family's tastes.  Granted, the bread won't be as healthy if you use more white flour, but the formulas will still work and taste great!

Another thing I really like about this method is how easy it is to fit making healthy breads into your daily schedule.  I love to bake bread but sometimes the thought of spending the whole night (or day) in the kitchen is exhausting.  With this method, you just mix up the dough, let it ferment a couple of hours, then refrigerate it and use a portion of the dough each time you want to bake bread.  Since I have a full time job and maintain my bread-baking site on the side, I usually do this part on the weekends.  The dough will last in the refrigerator anywhere from 5 to 10 days or so depending on the formula and most formulas make at least four breads.  So, once you mix up the dough, all you have to do is take the amount of dough you need out of the refrigerator, shape it, let it rise, then bake it.  How easy is that?  I even froze half a batch of the whole wheat challah dough for about a week, took it out and let it thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours, then made 3-Strand Challah with it.  You can see the results below:

I could go on and on about how much I like this method and the book, but I think the breads speak for themselves.  Without further adieu, here are the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes' breads I've made so far:

Pumpkin Pie Brioche

I made the dough for the Pumpkin Pie Brioche twice.   The first time, the dough was way too soft and the texture of the bread turned out to be very dry.  So, I decided to give it another try. The second batch turned out much better.  I loved the flavor and texture of the brioche. Read more about my attempts and successes with this bread.

Braided Holiday Pumpkin Wreath

The Braided Holiday Pumpkin Wreath is not in the book, but I made it using the Pumpkin Pie Brioche dough.  Once I had the dough made, all I had to do was take the amount I needed out of the refrigerator (about 1-pound), shape it into a 3-strand braid and then make the braid into a wreath.  It makes for a very easy and beautiful Fall bread. Read more about how to make this bread.

Cinnamon Pumpkin Crescent Rolls

I must admit that Cinnamon Pumpkin Crescent Rolls is one of my favorite recipes from the book so far.  It's made using the Pumpkin Pie Brioche dough and some other yummy ingredients.  Although it doesn't seem like it's healthy, it is much healthier than your normal cinnamon rolls because it's made with about 40% whole-wheat flour rather than all white flour.  I really had fun with the recipe although it was a little tricky working with the wet dough.  Read more about these delicious rolls.

Whole Wheat Challah with Cranberries and Orange Zest

I made a 5-strand Challah using the Whole Wheat Challah with Cranberries and Orange Zest.  It was actually pretty easy to braid.  I used mostly whole-wheat flour so it doesn't have quite the rise as traditional challah.  However, the flavor is wonderful and it's healthy!  It makes great toast!  View my tutorial on shaping a 5-strand challah.

Fruit-Filled Pinwheels

This is another one of my favorite breads from the book (so far).  I had never made pinwheels before so I was a little hesitant.  However, I got the opportunity to use my homemade jam so that was cool. I wasn't sure how the pinwheels would do with the whole-wheat challah dough with cranberries but I decided to give it a try.  Working with the wet dough was a little tricky, but I like the finished result. Don't you? It's much healthier than a store-bought pastry for sure. Learn how to make these pinwheels.

 Braided 3-Strand Whole Wheat Challah

This is the bread I made using the Whole Wheat Challah dough I had frozen for about a week.  I made it into a 3-strand challah.  It was very easy to shape and tasted wonderful.  It actually tasted better than the dough I refrigerated because I had let that dough stay in the refrigerator a little longer than the recommended 5 days.  Freezing the dough seemed to preserve it. It was really fresh when I thawed it and used it for this bread.


I really like this book and the fact that the authors are so down-to-earth and accessible to their readers.  They interact on Twitter and Facebook and answer questions on their blog.  I definitely recommend Healthy Bread in Five Minutes to homebakers that want to learn how to make bread or ones like me that like to learn different and easier methods for making bread.


Look for more Healthy Bread in Five Minutes breads from the HBinFive baking group beginning in January.

Happy Baking!

Friday, 18 December 2009

Bread Gifts: 7-Grain Bread

Here is the bread recipe for the 7-Grain Bread or "Going with the Grain Bread Recipe".  Be sure to include this recipe if you plan to give the 7-Grain Bread Mix as a gift.  Otherwise, the recipient won't know how to make it.  That would be like giving a toy without the batteries - not a good thing.

I decided to make this bread before I gave the mix away in case I didn't like it for some reason.  Makes sense, right?  Well, let me tell you, I was not disappointed.  This bread is wonderful!  It's very healthy and delicious and easy to make!  The bread takes a couple of days to make from start to finish, but before you go getting huffy on me, let me explain that most of the time is spent fermenting on the counter and in the refrigerator.  The recipe is really easy!  Really! I mean it!

The bread has a crusty outside and a chewy inside with a somewhat nutty flavor.  The recipe for the bread and bread mix is from
Kneadlessly Simple by Nancy Baggett.  The recipe is also featured on the Fleishmann Yeast site.

Here's how you make it!

Going with The Grain Bread Recipe

Use the 7-Grain Bread Mix to make this healthy bread.

Makes: 1 large loaf, 12-14 slices
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Proof Time: 16 to 32 hours
Bake Time: 60 to 75 minutes

  • 1 teaspoon yeast (measured out from enclosed envelope)
  • Cornmeal-seed mixture for garnish (from the enclosed bag)
  • 1 jar Going with the Grain Mix
  • Scant 2 cups ice water (add ice cubes to cold water and stir for 30 seconds before measuring), plus more if needed
  • About 1 ½ tablespoons corn oil, canola oil, or other flavorless oil for coating pan and dough top


Remove the yeast envelope and cornmeal-seed package (used for garnish) from the jar. In a large bowl, thoroughly stir together the jar of mix and 1 teaspoon of the yeast.

Vigorously stir the ice water into the dry mix, scraping down the bowl sides and stirring until completely blended. If the dough is too dry to mix, gradually stir in just enough more ice water to blend the mixture; the dough should be stiff.


Brush the top with a little oil. Tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap.  No you're not seeing things!  I switched bowls.  The other one was a little too big!

To enhance the flavor, place the dough in the refrigerator and let it ferment for 3 to 10 hours. Then let it rise at room temperature (about 70°F) for 12 to 18 hours.

If you prefer, skip the fermentation in the refrigerator and just let the dough rise at room temperature for 12 to 18 hours.

This is what the dough looks like after being refrigerated for 9 hours – from 10 pm to 7am the next morning.

This is what the dough looks like after resting on the counter for 13 hours - from 7am to 8pm.

Generously oil a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Sprinkle half the cornmeal-seed mixture into the pan.

Stir the dough briefly. With an oiled rubber spatula, scrape the dough in towards the center, working all the way around the bowl.

Invert the dough into the pan.


Brush the top lightly with oil, then smooth out and press into the pan with oiled fingertips. I used an oiled rubber spatula for this part.         

Brush the top generously with water, and immediately sprinkle the remaining cornmeal-seed mixture over the top. Cut a ½-inch deep slash down the dough center using oiled kitchen shears or serrated knife.

Cover the pan with nonstick spray-coated plastic wrap.



For a 2- to 4-hour regular rise, let stand at warm (74° to 75°F) room temperature; or, for a 45-minute to 2-hour accelerated rise, let stand in a turned-off microwave along with 1 cup of boiling-hot water.

I used the 2-hour regular rise, but put it in the oven with a boiling-hot cup of water because my kitchen is very cold.

When the dough nears the plastic, remove it and continue the rise until the dough extends ½ inch above the pan rim.

15 minutes before baking time, put a rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat to 450°F. Set the broiler pan on the oven floor.

Place the loaf in the oven to bake.  Reduce the heat to 425°F.

Add a cup of water to the broiler pan, being careful of splattering and steam; don't refill if it boils dry. Bake on the lower rack for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the loaf is nicely browned.

Cover the top with foil (if it's browning too much) and continue baking for 20 to 25 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the thickest part comes out with just slightly moist particles clinging to the bottom portion (or until the center registers 204° to 207°F on an instant-read thermometer).

Bake for 5 minutes more to ensure the center is fully done.  Remove the loaf to the rack and cool completely.

The loaf slices best when cool, but is good served warm or at room temperature.  This bread is delicious toasted and spread with jam.  I've enjoyed it for breakfast the past couple of days.  Stays fresh!


Cool completely before storing. To maintain the crisp crust, store wrapped in a clean kitchen towel. Or store airtight in a plastic bag or wrapped in foil; this will prevent the loaf from drying out, but will cause the crust to soften. Store at room temperature for 3 days; freeze, airtight, for up to 2 months, then thaw, unwrapped, at room temperature. When thawed, re-crisp in a 375°F oven for a few minutes, if desired.

Used with permission: Copyright © 2009 - ACH Food Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

Now that you know this bread is delicious, you can give the
7-Grain Bread Mix to your friends and family and be assured that you're giving them something wonderful and healthy.

Happy Baking!


Thursday, 17 December 2009

Bread Gifts: 7-Grain Bread Mix

Are you looking for a healthy gift for that special baker on your list? This healthy, no-knead bread mix, made with a mixture of seven seeds and grains, makes a perfect gift for experienced and aspiring bread-bakers alike. I'm giving this bread mix to my mom for Christmas. She likes to bake bread but prefers the no-fuss method.  She's also into eating heart-healthy foods so this is just perfect for her.  Shhhh ... don't tell her!

This bread is delicious toasted and spread with butter or jam. It has a crusty outside and a chewy inside with a somewhat nutty flavor. It also makes great sandwich bread.  The recipe for the bread and bread mix is from Kneadlessly Simple by Nancy Baggett.  The recipe is also featured on the Fleishmann Yeast site.

Here are some other Bread Gift ideas:

Going with The Grain Bread Mix
Don't forget to include the 7-Grain Bread Recipe along with this bread mix.

Makes: 1 quart of mix, yielding 1 large loaf, 12-14 slices
Prep Time: 30 minutes

  • 3 cups (15 ounces) unbleached white bread flour
  • ¼ cup (1.25 ounces) whole wheat flour (I used freshly milled white whole wheat flour)
  • ¼ cup brown rice flour  (I used freshly milled brown rice flour)
  • 2 tablespoons rolled oats or quick-cooking (not instant) oats
  • 2 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons table salt
  • 1 ½ tablespoons each sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and flax seed, mixed together
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal, preferably yellow
  • 1 envelope Fleischmann's RapidRise Yeast


Set out a completely dry clear glass or transparent plastic 1-quart or 1-liter jar, along with its lid. Set out a square of heavy-duty aluminum foil to use as a funnel. (Or use a funnel, if you have one.)  I have a funnel from all of the canning I've been doing so I'm all set.

First, I milled the rice flour from some brown rice grains.

That's my soup recipe in the background. I was making homemade turkey noodle soup the same night I prepared the mix.  I forgot to move it out of the way before I took the photo.  The soup actually goes really well with this bread.  Just a side note - no extra charge.

Isn't it cool how it just magically turns into flour!

Then, I mixed the poppy seeds, sesame seeds and flax seeds together.

Then I weighed the bread flour because I've found with these no-knead recipes especially, that I have to go by weight rather than use the measuring cup.  I don't have a digital scale yet.  That's definitely on my list.

Add the white flour to the jar using the funnel or foil.

Rap the jar on the counter to even and compact the layer.

Thoroughly stir together the whole wheat flour, brown rice flour, oats, sugar, salt, and all but 1 ½ tablespoons of the seed mixture.

Add to the jar; rap it again to even the layer.

Put the remaining seeds and the cornmeal in a small plastic bag; close tightly. Push the bag and the yeast envelope into the neck of the jar.

If it will be shipped, push crumpled wax paper into any extra space at the top. Attach a sheet or card with the instructions for making the bread to the jar.

Add some pretty ribbon and Holiday fabric and voila, there you have it!  A pretty and practical gift for that special baker on your list.

STORAGE: The unopened mix will keep for up to 1 ½ months unrefrigerated, 3 months refrigerated.

Source: Copyright © 2009 - ACH Food Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

This is a wonderful and healthy gift to give to your friends and family that enjoy baking.  Just don't forget to include the 7-Grain Bread Recipe with the jar of mix.

Happy Baking!