Archives for category: Breads

It’s that time of year!  I love everything apple and pear, especially in baked goods form.  Muffins are even better because it’s a good excuse to eat something sweet and tasty for breakfast!


-1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
-1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
-1 teaspoon Baking Soda
-1/4 teaspoon Salt
-1/2 Cup Ground Almonds
-3/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
-1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter, softened
-1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
-1 Egg
-1/4 teaspoon Vanilla
-2 Pears, peeled and cubed
-1/4-1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans

Optional:  Top muffins with a small amount of cinnamon/sugar before baking.

Preheat oven to 375F.  In a medium bowl, add flour, baking soda, salt, ground almonds, and cinnamon, and mix until incorporated.

In a separate bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla until creamy and fluffy.  Stir in flour mixture until just mixed, and add pear cubes and pecans.

Line a muffin pan with paper liners and fill 3/4 full with batter.  Sprinkle cinnamon/sugar mixture on top if desired.  Bake for 15-25 minutes, until golden and done.

Makes approximately one dozen muffins.


Labor day is quickly approaching and the grills will be firing up!  For some of this, it marks the end of Summer.  I know I will be celebrating the cooler temperatures since my poor garden fried up and died in this year’s heat.

Royal Burger
Italian Burger
Cabernet Burgers

Try your hand at homemade buns if you have some extra time!
Homemade Buns
Rosemary Buns

Sometimes we need a little extra kick to our breakfast.  This French toast recipe is surprisingly easy and uncomplicated.  You can even make it the night before!

This recipe can be easily doubled for a crowd and will fit in a 9×13 pan.  Otherwise, use a 9×9 pan.


-1/4 Cup Butter
-1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
-2 Tablespoons Bourbon
-2 Apples, sliced
-1/2 of a Baguette, sliced thick
-2 Eggs
-1/2 Cup Milk
-1 teaspoon Vanilla
-1 teaspoon Cinnamon
-1 Dash Nutmeg

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.
Add brown sugar and bourbon, cook until sugar is fully melted.

While the sauce is on the stovetop, slice the apples.

Pour the sauce in the bottom of a 9×9 inch baking pan.  Place apple slices on top.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla and sugar in a medium sized bowl.

Dip each piece of bread in the egg mixture, being sure to coat both sides.

Place the pieces of bread on top of the sliced apples.

Bake at 350F for 30 minutes, or until apples can be pierced with a fork.

When serving, spoon the sauce from the bottom on top of the bread and apples.


Breakfast is my favorite meal when it involves something hot out of the skillet or warm out of the oven.  A classic blueberry muffin makes a great breakfast or snack.

There are a bazillion “best muffin ever” recipes out there, which usually involve something I don’t have in my fridge.  Sour cream?  Nope, used that up on taco night.  Buttermilk?  Rarely stocked.  This is a no-fuss, delicious blueberry muffin recipe!  Raspberries or blackberries would be great, too!

Makes 12 muffins.

-6 Tablespoons Butter
-1 1/2 Cups Flour
-1/3 Cup Milk
-1 Large Egg
-1 Egg Yolk
-1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
-3/4 Cup Sugar
-1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
-1/2 teaspoon Salt
-1 Cup Blueberries

Preheat oven to 375F and move an oven rack to the upper 1/3 of the oven.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan on medium-low heat.
When butter is melted, remove from heat and whisk in milk, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture.

Mix together until the batter forms.  Be careful not to over mix.

Sprinkle the berries into the batter.

Gently fold the berries in.

Using a spoon, fill lined muffin tins with batter, almost all the way to the top.

Optional:  sprinkle a little sugar on top.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

Serve warm out of the oven, or at room temperature.


I love to make bread- especially homemade buns!  There’s something so satisfying about making what is typically a normal sandwich and transforming it into something incredible with homemade bread.

Darren and I made Cabernet Burgers on the grill during some of the last snow-free days in Ohio.  They require a few extra steps than your typical burger, but are worth the investment.

-1 Cup Warm Water
-1 Tablespoon Sugar
-2 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
-1 teaspoon Salt
-2 Tbsp. Fresh Rosemary, chopped (or 1 Tablespoon dried)
-1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
-1/4 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
-2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
-1 1/2 Cups White Whole Wheat Flour
-1/2 Cup Bread Flour

Egg Wash:
-1 Egg, whisked with a splash of water

Combine warm water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl.  Wait five minutes until frothy.

Add flour, rosemary, olive oil, salt, pepper, and Italian seasonings.
Mix gently and add bread flour until a shaggy dough forms.  Knead for 8-10 minutes until smooth, adding additional bread flour if sticky.  Lightly oil the bowl and place the dough in it.
Allow to rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size.  It should look like this:

Cut dough into equal pieces to make buns.  If you’re serious about consistent size, weigh them on a scale.

Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and allow to rise again, for about 45 minutes.
This is what they look like after the second rise:

Prepare the egg wash by whisking an egg with a splash of water added.  This will give the buns a nice glossy finish.

Gently brush egg wash onto each roll.
Place a piece of rosemary on top for a pretty finish!

Bake at 400F for 12-15 minutes, until edges and top are golden.

Making bread is such a simple pleasure.  It costs barely anything, and requires hardly any effort.  The only thing bread making requires is time.  The major rule in yeast bread baking is don’t kill the yeast. Otherwise, you might as well use your loaf as a door stopper.  I’ve compiled a few more tips to help you with your bread baking adventures:

How do I make sure my bread will rise?
-Too much heat will kill yeast.  Keep the temperature of any ingredients (typically scalded milk, or warm water) under 115F.  It should feel lukewarm to the touch.  Cool temperatures will not harm the yeast, but will cause a slower growth.  As yeast feeds on the dough, it multiplies, and releases carbon dioxide gas.  This is what causes the dough to rise.  If your dough doesn’t show any signs of rising, throw it out.  Check the expiration date on your yeast and start over.

What type of flour should I use?
-Bread flour is preferred for this recipe, but not required.  It depends on the results you desire.  If you’re looking for more of a rustic, hearth-style bread, use bread flour.  If you’re making something more delicate, such as rolls, all purpose flour works better.  If you decide to try out whole wheat flour, my best suggestion is to substitute some all-purpose or bread flour mixed in.  Otherwise, it’ll be extremely dense.

How do I get a perfect looking _____ bread?
-Practice!  Free-form loaves are the toughest to master.  This French Bread is the perfect example of a free form bread.  Don’t expect it to look perfect!  It doesn’t rely on a pan to hold it in.  Other examples are hearth-style breads, or sourdoughs.

How do I know when my bread is done?
-Always a tough question.  Recipes always say  to tap the bottom of the loaf with your finger, and if it sounds hollow, it’s done.  Sometimes, I laugh at those instructions.  It’s crazy to pull a piping hot loaf of bread out of the oven and start tapping at the bottom.  Or, stick an instant-read thermometer in the bread.  Most are done at 195F.  These days, I go by look/feel of the bread.  You’ll get the hang of it.

Don’t feel intimidated by baking bread!  Just like anything, it can be mastered with practice!

This French bread recipe is adapted from the Joy of Cooking and makes two baguettes.

-4 Cups Bread Flour
-1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
-2 1/4 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
-1 1/2 cups Warm Water (105-115F)

In a mixing bowl, add flour, salt, and yeast.

Stir together.

Make a well in the flour mixture.  Slowly pour water in.

Mix together and knead for 12 minutes.  (Or, if using a stand mixer, use the dough hook attachment on low speed for 12 minutes total.)

Remove dough and oil the bowl.

Add dough, and let rise in a warm place for two hours.  I usually cover mine with a clean, floured towel.


After 2 hours:

Punch the dough down with your first and bring the edges of the dough to the center.

Cut dough in half and form baguettes.  Push the dough away from you, rolling with both hands until the dough is long and thin.

Place on an oiled pan and allow to rise for an hour, or until almost doubled in size.

Here it is after the second rise:
Preheat oven to 400F.  Now, it’s time to score the bread.  Scoring the bread helps it rise properly without ripping or tearing on its own.  Not to mention, it looks pretty!

Use a lame, a razor blade, or a very sharp knife.
Put an oven safe bowl or baking pan on the bottom of the oven.  Pour 1 cup of water into the pan to create steam.  This will create a chewy crust.

Bake the bread on the center rack at 400F for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350F and bake another 30 minutes.  Turn oven off and crack the oven door for another 5 minutes, or until bread is done.

Wait until bread has cooled before slicing.

This makes great French toast, or perfect for Bruschetta!

I’ve been craving something pumpkin spice since the weather has gotten chilly.  And I’m not talking about just Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks.

There’s a local diner here that serves French toast stuffed with strawberries and cream cheese and it’s always a delicious treat.  I usually regret getting it after I eat a plate of it because it’s so darn sweet.  When I woke up, I thought about this diner.  And I thought about pumpkins.  And this is how this recipe was born.


For the Egg Mixture:
-2 Large Eggs
-1/2 Cup of Milk
-1 teaspoon Pumpkin Spice
-1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

For the Filling:
-1 Loaf of Fresh Bread
-1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree
-4 oz. Cream Cheese, softened (I used low fat)
-2 teaspoons Pumpkin Spice (Adjust to your liking)
-1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup, Optional

Tip:  Allow adequate time for your cream cheese to soften, up to a half hour.  If it isn’t soft it’ll be lumpy in the mixture.

In a medium bowl, add pumpkin puree, cream cheese, and pumpkin spice.

Optional:  Add maple syrup to mixture if you’d like it sweeter.
Stir well, until smooth and creamy.

Now, let’s prepare the bread.

Slice your fresh bread into two inch slices.
Slice a small slit in the top of the bread, like so:

Gently separate the bread, being careful not to tear it.

Use a butter knife to put the filling into the slit in the bread.

Do this to the loaf of bread until all used up, except for the ends.

Prepare the egg mixture.  Put milk, eggs, vanilla, and pumpkin spice into a shallow glass dish.

Melt butter in a skillet on medium heat.

Coat both sides of the bread in the egg mixture.

Cook each side until golden brown and no longer eggy.
When done with each piece, place on a sheet in the oven on warm.
Top each piece with powdered sugar and pecans or almonds.  Drizzle maple syrup on top, if desired.
Dig in!

This French toast is absolutely heavenly- try it this Fall season!