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Category Archives: bread

“Tandoori” Naan

Okay, so I don’t have a Tandoor oven in my house, nor am I hiding one anywhere else on my property. I am just a big fan of naan and hummus, and I thought I would search for a recipe that gave me that same flavor without the same price tag (I calculate these will cost about .30 cents for a batch of four, which is a savings of $1.70 versus even the cheapest store bought varieties!!!).  Unashamedly I saved the Trader Joe’s “Tandoori Naan” freezer safe bag, and yes I will be storing the home made version in it.  This post should really be called “bread maker” naan, because that’s what it is.  I’m VERY into fast and easy recipes, so if you don’t have a bread maker….. I don’t know what to tell you. That’s Kelsey’s department and maybe she can come up with some great alternative for you. Note: If you have a 15 month old with an egg allergy, it isn’t advisable to let them sample this bread or to eat a whole piece. And that’s coming from personal experience. Oh well, here’s the recipe. While you’re testing it out I’m going to grab the Benadryl.


  1. Add ingredients to the bread pan according to the manufacturer’s directions. (Typically they want you to add the wet ingredients first, dry on top, finishing with the yeast)
  2. Set Cycle: dough; Loaf size: 2 lb.
  3. After about 5 minutes, check the dough; add a tablespoon of water at a time if too dry, or a tablespoon of flour at a time if too wet.
  4. Preheat oven to 450F, put 2 baking sheets in to heat for 10 minutes (this will help the naan to puff up and brown).
  5. When dough cycle is done, turn dough onto a floured surface and punch down; Divide into 8 pieces.
  6. Working one at a time, with the other pieces covered, roll dough out to a thickness of about 1/4 inch.
  7. Bake for about 4 minutes, until puffed up.
  8. These freeze very well.

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Have This On Hand and A Pie Story

From a triple layer chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and peanut butter filling to vanilla sheet cakes to pies, pies, pies.

And pies.

Oh, but I love it.

Pies are truly wonderful and I hope you get your fill (is that possible?) tomorrow. There are so many possibilities with pies, but what makes a pie fantastic is that it is both sweet and savory, no matter what the flavor. Think of your typical apple pie—sweet, chunky, spicy, fruity filling with a rich, buttery, flaky crust.

This is food perfection. Eat it any time and all of the time. And the chicken pie—protein and vegetable goodness in a crust that makes you feel loved. What more could you want?

My little man couldn’t agree more. Mommy and Baby can often be found devouring a pumpkin pie by the light of the open refrigerator.

With the holidays here, pies are necessary and excellent any time of day. There is nothing like a leftover piece of pie first thing in the morning. Or a forkful before a run.

It makes me go faster.

But you may want other breakfast possibilities. I’ve made a routine of making pan bread every other day. We usually work through a loaf in a day and I have another waiting in the freezer. I tried out Nick Malgieri’s Cinnamon Raisin Bread. A toasted slice with my morning latte was quite nice. It’s not a sweet bread, mind you. It’s a nice toasting bread and the cinnamon swirl dresses it up a bit for this time of year.

Cinnamon Swirl Pan Bread

*Adapted from How to Bake by Nick Malgieri.

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

2 cups warm tap water

5 to 5 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (substitute some whole wheat flour for all-purpose)

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon honey

5 tablespoons vegetable oil or unsalted butter, melted

3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted

1/4 to 1/2 cup raisins

1. Oil two loaf pans.

2. Whisk the yeast into the water and set aside.

3. Place 5 cups of flour in a mixer with the salt. Add the yeast mixture, honey,  and oil or butter and mix on low with a dough hook for 5 minutes. If the dough is really sticky, you can add some flour one tablespoon at a time.

4. Oil a bowl and place the dough inside, turning it over once to oil it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to double. This takes a little over an hour.

5. Mix together 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, and 2 teaspoons of melted, unsalted butter. Set this aside.

5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Deflate the dough and divide it in half. Make a clump into a rectangle. Spread half of the cinnamon mixture over the rectangle and sprinkle it with about 1/4 cup of raisins, fold in the short sides and then the long, making a cylinder. Put it in the pan seam side down. Do the same with the other clump. Cover the pans with plastic wrap and let the loaves rise for about an hour.

5. When the loaves are about ready, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

6. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.

7. Unmold and set on racks to cool.

This bread is great warm. Have a loaf today and freeze a loaf for tomorrow. You could also make some wildly good French toast with this stuff.

Thanks Nick!

Happy Thanksgiving.

Heat ‘N Serve No More

I’ve converted. Once upon a time I found nothing wrong with the “heat ‘n serve” dinner roll. I even fought on behalf of it.

There was one year my sister was hosting Thanksgiving dinner and decided to streamline the menu, cutting out those unusually white rolls. At the time, this seemed like an injustice to me. What will we use to dip into our mashed potatoes and swirl through the gravy?

Excellent argument. Somehow I won.

Then I had to force myself to eat part of one of those necessary rolls.

Now, I can say goodbye to heat ‘n serve. I made my own rolls. And oh, if you could smell these.

Once again I have Nick Malgieri to thank for making my day. He has the gift for fashioning breads with intense flavor. And I was fortunate enough to come across his book How to Bake.

Maddy continues her year of the bread with dinner/breakfast/lunch rolls. Oh they are anytime rolls.

Below is an adaptation of Nick’s recipe. Try it out or give me a ring and I will try it out for you.

Wheat Rolls

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour    1 and 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey    1 tablespoon salt

1 cup warm tap water (about 110 degrees)    2 teaspoons active dry yeast    2 large eggs

4 tablespoons butter, melted    Egg wash: 1 beaten egg with a pinch of salt

1. Cover cookie sheets or jelly-roll pans with parchment paper.

2. In the bowl of a stand-mixer, with the dough hook attached, (you can do this by hand, too) combine the dry ingredients. Let the mixer run on low for 1 minute.

3. Add the water, yeast, eggs, nectar or honey, and butter and continue to let it mix for a minute.

4. Oil a mixing bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl. Turn the dough over in the bowl to coat all of the sides of the dough with the oil. Cover the bowl and let it rest at room temperature until the dough has doubled, about 1 hour.

5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pressed it down to let the air out. Divide the dough in half and then slice each half into 8 pieces to get 16 pieces in total.

6. With the palm of your hand, roll each piece into a small mound. Try to create a smooth surface on each piece. If you’d like to seed or salt your rolls, do that now.

7. Place the rolls on the prepared pans and cover with oiled plastic wrap and a towel. Allow the rolls to rest for about an hour.

8. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

9. Bake the rolls at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. The internal temperature of the rolls should be 210.

Enjoy the rolls warm. The rolls keep well for about 24 hours. After that, you can freeze the rolls and defrost as needed.


Does anyone need pies for Thanksgiving? MaddyLu’s Bakery is now taking orders for the big day. Check out our Facebook page for more information.


Butter melting in the skillet, beautiful baby white potatoes ready to dip in, crusty bread, red wine. Ah.

Josh and Sophie are playing “Catch Me” in the yard.

I was almost caught while sneaking out to gather some herbs.

And so the year of the bread continues with a loaf with roots–my  German roots. German food is good any time of year but the fall calls for pale boiled potatoes, luscious meats, pungent cheeses, good beer, and equally good bread.

I found a fantastic recipe for brown beer bread in an old Cooking Light magazine that a friend brought over. If you could have tasted the air in my kitchen while I was putting this bread together…oh my. Josh walked in while I was punching down the dough and commented on how much it smelled like Würzburg. I agreed.

Josh and I spent a bit of time in Germany over the Christmas holiday one year.

We had a ticket in to Frankfurt and a ticket out of Nuremberg. That was it. No reservations, no plans, nothing. It was up to us to make our way across the bottom of Germany. Without knowing German.

Oh but Germany during the holidays was enchanting and Würzburg was possibly one of the loveliest places of all.

We stayed in a charming bed and breakfast that had a dining room which served supper and was open to the public. And the German public came.

While we traveled, we had a rule: speak as little as possible. (We learned as much of the native language as we could, but knew our accents would give us away.) This worked quite well, except for when it came to ordering off menus. Waiters always discovered our secret.

At the inn in Würzburg, the waiter pretty much chose our meals for us and what a fine job he did. The brown beer bread recipe brings many of those flavors I experienced while in Germany together in one hearty loaf. I hope you get the chance to make this bread. If not, you’ll just have to book a flight to Schönes Deutschland.

Brown Beer Wheat Bread

1 tablespoon olive oil     1/2 cup chopped onion

1 1/8 teaspoons sugar, divided   2 packages dry yeast (about 4 1/2 teaspoons)

3/4 cup warm brown beer (100 to 110 degrees)    1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt

1 tablespoon white vinegar     1 1/2 teaspoon salt     1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided     1 cup whole wheat flour (or rye)

cooking spray     1 teaspoon water     1 large egg white, lightly beaten

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, sauté 4 minutes until golden brown. Set onions aside to cool.

2. Warm beer (I used the microwave). Dissolve 1/8 teaspoon sugar and the yeast in the beer. Let stand for 5 minutes.

3. Stir yogurt,vinegar, and salt into the beer mixture. Add remaining 1 teaspoon sugar and egg. Stir with a whisk. If you would like to make a rye bread, this is when you would add 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds.

4. Add 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour and the whole wheat flour to the yeast mixture and stir until a soft dough forms. Stir in the onions.

5. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 8 minutes or until smooth and elastic, adding enough of the remaining flour to keep the dough from being too sticky to handle. Add 1 tablespoon at a time.

6. Coat a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in the bowl and turn once over to coat the loaf with the oil.

7. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let rise it in a warm place, free from drafts for about 45 minutes or until it has doubled in size.

8. Punch the dough down and let it rest for 5 minutes.

9. Shape the dough into a 12-inch oval loaf and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover the loaf with plastic wrap and let it rise for another 30 minutes or until it has doubled again.

10. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

11. Combine 1 teaspoon water and the egg white in a small bowl. Brush the egg mixture over the loaf.

12. Bake the loaf for 28 minutes or until golden brown and sounds hollow when you give it a tap.

13. Cool on a wire rack.

*Adapted from Cooking Light, September 2006.

The Year of the Bread

Ah Saturday. Class are over, no birthday parties, no obligations. And there’s a chill in the air.

It’s nearly perfect.

But Josh is a Saturday worker.

At the Austin house there aren’t any pancake and p.j. Saturday mornings, but sometimes, if things are just so, a Saturday will feel like a Saturday.

This was one of those Saturdays.

So I made bread.

Kneading dough for bread must be one of the most satisfying activities. The 10 minutes of kneading dough for Italian bread went rather quickly.

The recipe I used comes from Maryann Patten. Maryann is one of those people who cooks and bakes everything beautifully. If Maryann made it, it’s got to be good.

Maryann’s Rustic Italian Bread

Recipe makes 2 loaves


5 1/2 to 6 cups all-purpose flour          2 packages active dry yeast

1  1/2 teaspoons salt             2 cups warm water (120 to 130 degrees)

cornmeal       1 slightly beaten egg white         1  tablespoon water


In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, the yeast and salt. Add water. Beat with an electric mixer on low for 30 seconds, scraping the bowl. Then, beat on high for 3 minutes. Stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead in enough of the remaining flour to make the dough smooth and elastic. This will take 8 to 10 minutes.

Shape the dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Flip the dough once over to coat with the oil. Cover and let the dough rise until doubled, about 1 to 1  1/2 hours.

Punch down the dough. Divide it in half and cover, letting it rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, grease 2 baking sheets and sprinkle them with cornmeal. Roll each half into a 15×12-inch rectangle. Roll up the rectangle and seal it well. Taper the ends. Place the loaf seam side down on a prepared baking sheet. Brush with a mixture of egg white and water. Let the loaves rise until nearly double–about 45 minutes.

When the loaves are almost there, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Make 5 or 6 cuts 1/4 inch deep across the tops of the loaves and bake for 20 minutes. Brush again with egg white mixture. Bake 20 to 25 minutes more or until golden. Cool the loaves on wire racks.

This bread is best warm. Slice it and spread on some butter or rip off a hunk and dip it in olive oil.


If I could dedicate this bread to anyone it would have to be my friend Celess. She is the one who taught me how to make a meal out of a loaf of bread. Just the bread. Yes, the whole loaf. She’s amazing.

The Year of the Bread marches on.

Cooking with Irene

I brushed my teeth, grabbed my coffee, and set out to beat the elderly to the checkout lines (Yes, I feel guilty). Everyone else had the same idea.

The hurricane was coming and the meat lady promised we would all lose our electric. She was so convincing that I didn’t get far  before turning around and putting back  two packages of ground turkey that were on sale. It was hard to do, but as I said, the meat lady was very convincing.

The water was nearly sold-out and the milk was well-stocked. (I had to keep reminding myself that this was a hurricane, not a snowstorm. It’s all so confusing.)

I forgot D batteries. (My in-laws picked them up for me at 7-Eleven that night. My friend had stopped into a superstore that had sold out of them and was told by a cashier that security was called in to break up a fist fit over D batteries. Yes, a fist fight.)

While she handed me my receipt, the cashier told me to “be safe” and then she gave me this sad look. Oh dear. She too was very convincing.

I came home, kissed my babies, and went on a baking, cleaning, packing, prepping rampage.

I cooked a chicken, a turkey breast, and six bags of frozen vegetables. I made a couple of lettuce salads and baked granola and focaccia bread.

Here’s the recipe. It’s from Jamie Oliver.

Focaccia Bread

1  3/4 cups white bread flour

1  3/4 cups whole-wheat flour

1  1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast (1 envelope)

1  1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 cup lukewarm water

extra virgin olive oil

sea salt

freshly ground pepper

3 fresh garlic cloves, thinly sliced

a nice bunch of fresh basil (optional)

a handful of ripe grape or cherry tomatoes (optional)


Whisk the yeast and sugar into the lukewarm water and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flours and the salt. Make a well in the center.

When the yeast mixture foams, pour it into the well, blending it into the flour with a fork as you pour. You may need a splash more of water to make the dough come together. I usually need about 2 more tablespoons of lukewarm water.

Once the dough comes together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it like crazy (not sure what that would look like if taken too literally) for 5 minutes or until it’s “smooth and springy.”

Oil a bowl, throw the dough in and cover with a damp towel. Put the bowl in a draft-free spot for about 30 minutes or until it has doubled in size.

Once it has risen, pound it down to knock the air out and then transfer it to a flour-dusted 11 x 15 baking sheet. Spread the dough to the edges of the pan. Cover it with the same towel used previously and let it alone for another 30 minutes to allow it to double in size. It may take a few more minutes depending on the weather, but it’s well worth the wait.

While you wait, prepare the topping by slicing the garlic and tomatoes and combining it with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 3 pinches of sea salt, and 3 small pinches of ground pepper.

Next, you remove the towel, poke at the dough a bit, sprinkle with olive oil and then pour on the topping.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden.

Remove it from the pan and allow to cool on a wire rack. If you decide to use fresh herbs, this is when you want to put them on.

I’ve made this bread with different toppings. A favorite topping combo is roasted garlic, sliced ripened grape tomatoes, and fresh Thai basil. You can top it with different cheeses, meats, herbs, and vegetables. Try it out and then let me know what you come up with.


Day 2 of the hurricane:  I went to town. Everyone was losing electricity. I needed to bake as much as possible. It was a must at the time. I wanted to make a sour cream pound cake, but was afraid to make such a time commitment in case we did in fact lose electricity. According to everyone, it was just a matter of time.

So, I started with MaryAnn’s Pecan Goodness (see a past post for recipe), my own rocky road cookies (recipe may be unveiled), and soft spice biscotti (recipe will not be unveiled). Then, I made an apple slab pie (which baked for an hour, the amount of time the sour cream pound cake would have taken).

While I was working on the biscotti, Josh asked if I was done baking. So, when he asked if I was done when I was working on the pie, I knew he was really telling me to stop. I did.

We never lost power.

Day 3: We still have power and hopefully we still will because my honey whole-wheat pan bread is just about fully risen.

Make something. Do it while you still have power.